“I am grateful to have been commissioned to document The Nest Collective’s event “Kitchen Conversations”. Over two evenings I watched, listened and sketched the guests in real time – as they debated, laughed, shared, disagreed and bonded over thought provoking discussion. These candid conversations explored race, gender, sexuality, age, diasporic community and the legacy of colonialism in safe, fearless atmosphere. Conversing on these issues over food on a summer’s evening besides the River Thames, in a building with its own links to Empire, felt radical, empowering and spiritually nourishing. I hope my drawings of these special events illustrate the range of the participants, and the sense of honesty, intimacy, compassion and belonging they were able to experience through being brought together. “
— Artist and academic
— Kitchen Conversations
Artist and academic
Alex Mein is an artist and academic based in London, England.
His practice concerns figurative and observational drawing. Using coloured pencils, his work depicts intimate portraits of friends and acquaintances, often from the LGBTQ+ community, or illustrated depictions of people passing through public locations, such as shopping centers or public transport.
Commercially, Alex Mein often collaborates with fashion and lifestyle organizations, such as publications Boy.Brother.Friend and Another Man, as well as brands such as Mulberry, Gap and Nike. In August 2021 he collaborated with the Jamaican based fashion stylist and activist Emani Edwards to create a large-scale artwork exhibited publicly at VFD’s Outsider Gallery in Hackney, London.
Alex Mein has also taught in Higher Education since 2011 and he is currently Course Leader of BA (Hons) Fashion Imaging and Illustration at London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London.
More of his work can be seen on instagram @mrmein
The Nest Collective
— A multidisciplinary arts collective
— The Feminine and the Foreign
A multidisciplinary arts collective
The Nest Collective
The Nest Collective is a multidisciplinary arts collective living and working in Nairobi. Founded in 2012, the collective has created works in film, music, fashion, visual arts and literature such as the critically-acclaimed queer anthology film Stories of Our Lives, which has so far screened in over 80 countries and won numerous awards. The Nest Collective also founded HEVA—Africa’s first creative business fund of its kind—to strengthen the livelihoods of East Africa’s creative entrepreneurs.
The collective uses an applied-research holistic methodology to create cultural bodies of work with film, fashion, literature and other media. These interventions are designed to engage audiences using multiple points of entry and reflection, thus enabling nuanced consideration, discussion and debate of the issues raised, while also advancing aesthetic and artistic value.
Due to the multidisciplinary nature of their work, the collective have screened film and TV works at the Toronto International Film Festival, the Berlinale, the BFI, the MoMA and other festivals in Colombia, Ghana, Cape Town, Botswana, Seoul, Taiwan and Lagos, exhibited their visual arts works at the Vitra Design Museum, the Royal Pavilion, the Guggenheim Bilbao, hosted talks and performances at the International Film Festival Rotterdam, Design Indaba and What Design Can Do, held DJ parties in Amsterdam and Copenhagen, all while continuing to draw connections and parallels back to their home in Nairobi.
View Alex’s drawings in the gallery below or to see them larger, use the following links: