Karura Forest is a mine of natural phenomena. Photographer Karue Wachira captures one of the wonders – the butterflies – and mounts a beautiful exhibition. KIUNDU WAWERU experienced the unique show
Karura Forest has undergone a metamorphosis. Gone are the days that they natural habitat was suffering from threats of being grabbed by unscrupulous politicians and investors to being a den of crime.
Today, the forest is one big, cool retreat centre, offering a sheltered, safe haven for many, with the added attraction of being so close to the city centre.
And as Karura morphs, an artist fittingly and perhaps unconscious of the symbolic meaning puts up an exhibition that features a creature that goes through different stages of life. The creature finally emerges, colourful wings fluttering beautifully.
The butterfly, an insect that over the years has been used artistically as a symbol expressing different meanings. It has been depicted in films and also it’s been a mythical creature in some countries.
The butterfly’s life cycle begins with an egg, then the caterpillar, pupa to the imago – the colourful butterfly.
At one time, Karura was a safe haven for the Mau Mau warriors. In another time, the deceased professor Wangari Maathai was running battles with grabbers; later criminals found a den for their heinous acts. Recently, a diplomat’s wife seeked to rehabilitate the forest, and today it’s an educational centre, a retreat and a tourist destination.
And recently photographer Karue Macharia mounted a beautiful exhibition, The Butterflies of Karura Forest 2012, at the Former Shell BP Sports Club, now the Educational Environmental Centre.
The exhibition features eleven species. After taking the pictures, Karue went to the Kenya National Museums and they assisted him in the naming and classification.