Sovereign Nature Initiative, Kenya Wildlife Trust, and Nairobi Design Week Partner to Showcase ‘Tracing the Wild.’

Harnessing data on lions, data-driven art project ‘Tracing the Wild,’ is a First-Of-Its-Kind Interactive Digital and Physical Art Installation Promoting Conservation. It expresses the complexity of the predator ecosystem in Kenya’s Maasai Mara region.

(Nairobi, Kenya) Sovereign Nature Initiative (SNI), a nonprofit working with nature stewards to leverage and amplify their ecological data, Kenya Wildlife Trust (KWT), Kenya’s principal predator conservation trust, and Nairobi Design Week, an annual international design festival in its eighth year, announced a joint partnership to feature “Tracing the Wild,” an original dynamic data-driven art project led by Nairobi-based artist Chuma Anagbado and Nairobi Design Week in collaboration with data architect Daria Smakhtina and SNI’s Director of Creative Engagement, Seth Bockley. Taking place at the Opportunity Factory, the project will be on display during Nairobi Design Week’s 8th annual gathering on March 11-19. 

The Tracing the Wild initiative visualizes predator data collected by KWT as a series of digital and physical data-based ‘portraits’ along with interactive artwork. To help audiences comprehend the relationship between lions and humans and the real-time health of nature, data used in the project trace the patterns of lion movement across Kenya’s Maasai Mara region, as well as the animals’ conflict with humans. 

“Kenya Wildlife Trust has a wealth of data that we’ve been wanting to share with other conservation organizations, scientists, and audiences who care about biodiversity,” said KWT Director, Irene Amoke, PhD. “Collaborating with the Sovereign Nature Initiative has shown us new opportunities for integrating our data into projects that can reach larger audiences and inspire people to learn about the importance of human relationships with predators.”

“We’re thrilled to partner with both Kenya Wildlife Trust and Nairobi Design Week, as both organizations are embracing the power of data-driven art and exploring innovative ways for creators to build projects around conservation data,” shared Sovereign Nature Initiative CEO, Catherine Bischoff. “We hope ‘Tracing the Wild’ is the first of many initiatives and collaborations to bring together nature stewards, digital artists, and the world of web3.” 

The display will include a triangular artwork composed of three vertical portraits arranged in the center of a key seating area. A circular installation of the display will reflect the spatial principles of the Maasai boma, an enclosure meant to protect livestock from predators. Inspired by three different lions—Sintamei, Mama Kali and Naramat—lion portraits created by Anagbado were brought to life using data points provided by KWT’s tracking collars along with topographic information and data architecture created by Daria Smakhtina. The artwork also includes sounds of the Mara region mixed with stories told by rangers conservationists, engineered and designed by Nairobi-based sound artist, Mercy Barno. Augmented reality designed by Lyosi Mwedekeli will give guests an opportunity to animate the portraits using their smartphones. 

“I’d say the ‘Tracing the Wild’ project found me,” said artist Chuma Anagbado. “Clearly, there is a natural synergy between the style of my work and what SNI wanted to achieve by using Lion data in creating art. Specifically, the data lines were a natural fit with my art. I’ve also always wanted to include conservation in my work. Moreso, I’ve been a designer as well, founding and running a design firm back home in Lagos, Nigeria. This project uses up all my skills, and is different from the traditional and conventional art space. This is home for me, as I’m an advocate for blurring the lines between art & design.” 

“We’re very excited about exploring nature, culture and life-centered design,” said Adrian Jankowiak, Creative Director and Founder of Nairobi Design Week. “We need to think about the planet and the other species we coexist with. It was also very important to us to work with local partners and creatives. ‘Tracing The Wild’ is centered around all these key elements.”

In tandem with the physical launch of Tracing the Wild, digital art collectibles will be available on the project’s dedicated page. The pieces will include Anagbado’s iconic portraits of the female lions Sintamei, Mama Kali and Naramat, as well as 3D animated data sculptures created by Smakhtina, and the original sound designs of Barno. Proceeds will go to Kenya Wildlife Trust, Nairobi Design Week, Sovereign Nature Initiative, and the artists of ‘Tracing the Wild.’

Alongside the art display, SNI and KWT are holding special events at Nairobi Design Week to activate conversation between art and conservation, and tech communities. These include: 

  •  “The Design & Art of Tracing The Wild” – a conversation with Chuma Anagmado and SNI’s Director of Creative Engagement Seth Bockley, plus other guests, as well as NDW’s directors Naitiemu Nyanjom and Adrian Jankowiak.

March 11 at 1:30 PM

  • “‘Happy Art Gathering’ – Connecting Digital & Physical Artists from Kenya and Beyond

March 11 6:30 PM 

  •  “Emerging Tech And Its Role In Supporting Human Coexistence With Wildlife” with Kenya Wildlife Trust’s director Irene Amoke plus ‘SNI’s CEO Catherine Bischoff

March 12 at 1:30 PM

  • “Ranger’s Corner” – learn about the work of Kenya Wildlife Trust from their Lion Ambassadors 

March 11 and 12 – 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM

Sovereign Nature Initiative 


Seth Bockley 

Director of Creative Engagement

About Sovereign Nature Initiative 

The Sovereign Nature Initiative is an Amsterdam-based nonprofit seeking to achieve a thriving planet by reconfiguring nature’s value. We are located at the intersection of ecology, economy, and emerging (web3) technologies. We seek to open minds to radical approaches toward sustainability and to make nature’s agency profitable for all. We believe that we must engage with economic practices in order to bring about change at the scale of a paradigm shift.

About Nairobi Design (Week) 

Since 2015, Nairobi Design has been a constant in the local and global design calendar. Its vibrant community welcomes thousands of visitors every year, embracing inter-disciplinary values and methodologies, the agency works on projects throughout the year that culminates in an annual celebration of design’s past, present, and future. Nairobi Design Week is its 

flagship event, a major festival in Nairobi, showcasing design through exceptional, unconventional experiences. 

About Kenya Wildlife Trust 

Kenya Wildlife Trust (KWT) is Kenya’s principal predator conservation trust and is dedicated to three of Kenya’s most important ecosystems: Greater Mara, Samburu-Laikipia, and Amboseli-Tsavo. The organization protects vulnerable predator populations and empowers and educates local communities and stakeholders about conservation and environmental stewardship. KWT’s focus on Kenya offers the organization a profile with national policy decision-makers, unique knowledge of the country’s wildlife areas and local communities, and a clear understanding of the actors in the local and wider economy that have a stake in healthy ecosystems.

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