The developing world converges

jeepneyJeepneys are the main way people get around in the Philippines. In East Africa, people ride in Matatus. I liked them so much I featured them a fair amount when I lived in Nairobi.

So I came across this photo of a Jeepney in a missionary magazine* – and I was struck by how the artwork was so similar to what could be found on Matatus in downtown Nairobi! It’s just amazing that the influences that shape how artists do their craft are similar, even 6,000 miles (9,500 km) apart!

Not only does matatu art reflect the latest trends in society, it always shows the cutting-edge of young artists’ creativity. (However, some matatu artists are better than others!) Often the several random sayings on one matatu provide a good laugh. One of my fantasies while living in Nairobi was to hire a photographer to take a million photos of matatus – and then I would create a coffee table book out of the best pix. Any angel investors out there willing to chip in?

* (Sorry, there was no credit given to the photographer, or I would have passed that on.)


4 Replies to “The developing world converges”

  1. This bus reminds me of the old painted vans you used to see in the 70s – I guess there is some kind of universal painted-vehicle style.

  2. The bright colors remind me of the chivas of Colombia and Ecuador, big boxy buses built on truck chasses. The designs are different, but the bright effect is similar. If you Bing chiva images, you’ll see what I mean.

    1. That’s great Tim!

      I love it – Kenya, the Philippines, Colombia – and here in the US, we have such boring public transport vehicles.

      There’s something to be said for not being so “neat”.

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