By Malik Merchant
Last week Simerg published a very informative and interesting article by Zahir Dharsee of Toronto about his memories of the Nairobi Town Jamatkhana, which was once upon a time the Darkhana of Kenya (post link below). In searching for appropriate photos of the Jamatkhana to be included in the article, I discovered the photostream of prondis_in_kenya and wrote for permission to reproduce a photo she had taken. Isabelle Prondzynski (real name) promptly replied and granted me not only the permission for the Jamatkhana photo but also set me up to publish some outstanding photos she had taken during her visits to the Aga Khan Hospital. In her gracious reply she observes:
“The highest profile Ismaili buildings in Nairobi are probably those of the Aga Khan Hospital. This is an excellent hospital, very beautiful too. There is a [Kitengela] sculpture in the garden there which is specifically dedicated to the hospital. All I know about the sculpture is what the Kitengela web site writes: ‘The Aga Khan Hospital sports Health, Hope and Happiness reminiscent of His Highness’s plumed crown’.”
Isabelle then compliments the Ismaili community and the Hospital by saying:
“The Ismaili community in Nairobi is highly respected. One of the doctors whom I got to know, was quite happy to come to the Anglican church where I work and help our patients from the slum communities. We still remember her with a lot of fondness.”
We are delighted to present a selection of Isabelle’s photos of the Kitengela sculpture, and also take the opportunity to publish her other lively shots which she took at the doctor’s plaza, the fountain area, the cafetaria and the Hawkers’ Market which is located across the road from the hospital premises. In her opinion the market is the best of the many excellent markets in Nairobi. With the summer heat now gripping many parts of Canada, the photos of the market stalls should lead us to our own local markets (Byward and Parkdale in Ottawa),
As regards the sculpture, we wrote to the artist, Nani Croze, to ask her about “Health, Hope and Happiness.” Nani is recuperating from a hip surgery at the Aga Khan Hospital but her husband, Eric Krystall, replied as follows:
“A number of years ago Nani decided that in addition to the glass art she was doing for commissions and sales she would try to brighten the lives of patients entering hospitals. So she created appropriate glass sculptures to donate to a number of hospitals including Gertrude’s Gardens and of course the Aga Khan Hospital. The sculpture is made with slabs of thick glass which is chipped to reflect light and set in cement on iron frames. The process is called Dalle de Verre. Health, Hope and Happiness was designed by Nani and executed by the Kitengela Glass team of glass artists and metal workers. It was originally prominently displayed at the entrance to the hospital and was launched by Nizar Juma, the then Director and staff in the company of many supporters of the hospital. Unfortunately due to construction, the statue was moved to a spot in the garden and is now mostly unnoticed.”
Enjoy the photos and click on the links below for more photos including a magnificent slide show.
Date article posted: June 22, 2011
Photos Copyright: Isabelle Prondzynski. Flickr photostream prondis_in_kenya.
Editor’s note: We are deeply indebted to Isabelle Prondzynski for permission to publish a sample of her wonderful collection. Links to her photostream and slideshows are given below. We also thank Eric Crystall for the sculpture background and Rukhsana Ali for locating the explanation of the Aga Khan Health Services logo shown in the second photo. We wish Nani Croze a complete recovery from her hip surgery.
Memorable slideshow of Aga Khan Hospital: Slideshow by prondis_in_kenya
Isabelle Prondzynski’s main flickr photostream: prondis_in_kenya.
More photos of the market: Hawker’s Market photos by prondis_in_kenya
More information about the Kitengela art form: http://www.kitengela-glass.com/
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