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CASE 1: Broken Dreams of Decolonisation – Manhunt after Kenya Election Fraud Exposure 2013
CASE 2: The Gods of Money 1 – Censored by Kenya Art Fair 2015
CASE 3: The Gods of Money 2 – Censored by Kenya Art Fair 2015
CASE 4: Euro Cash Photobooth – Censored by City of Maastricht 2016
CASE 5: Revoking of Bachelor degree by Government of the Netherlands 2016
CASE 6: The Gods of Money 3 – Confiscation of Artworks by Government of Kenya 2017
CASE 7: City Cotton 1 – Intimidation by The Powers that Be Kenya 2017
CASE 8: City Cotton 2 – Arrest by the Kenya Police for suspected Terrorism & destruction of Video material 2019



The Censored Arts project was started by the artist RxAxLxF (https://rxaxlxf.net) after he and his works were several times the targets of censorship.
RxAxLxF works as well from The Netherlands and Kenya and the cases happened in these countries over several years.

RxAxLxF works as artist in different fields of the arts and has along career in the arts. He graduated in 1993 from the (in)famous AKI academy with projects like male & female robots fighting each other, interactive massmurder video installations and automatized human classification systems (i.e. to determine if a human is good or evil by electronic means). Projects like those earned him a bit of fame & awards in those early days of his career, which contributed to be selected for a Dutch government sponsored project to teach Kenyan slum youth media production.

He came in 2001 from The Netherlands to Kenya to set up with others the digital design school NairoBits for youth from the slums of Nairobi (https://www.nairobits.com). Goal of the school was to train talented youth from the slums of Nairobi to tell their own stories by digital means, instead of leaving this to people from outside those slums.
Impressed by Kenyans & their country, he decided to stay and set up later several companies and projects in the fields of media & arts.

He also kept working in the field on numerous assignments. During his assignment to cover the Kenyan national elections in 2013, he stumbled upon artifacts pointing to possible election fraud. The material ended up as evidence in the election case at the Kenyan Supreme Court. In a dramatic and controversial ruling, the court declared the election as valid, not regarding most of the evidence for ‘reasons of time constraints’.
RxAxLxF was told that in the massive 1000 page evidence file, his evidence covered 5 pages, being one of the largest single evidences (as the number of evidence cases were also coming close to 1000). As his 5 pages were not considered by the Kenyan Supreme Court due to the mentioned time constraints, most of his evidence material was returned to him.
RxAxLxF decided to put the bigger part of the evidence for sale on through Censored Arts. The evidence for sale here consists mainly of unique broken ballot box seals of ballot boxes which were modified.
He was told to defend those seals with his life, for the betterment of Kenya and our world in general. So he did.

A couple of months later, RxAxLxF documented the illegal destruction of the City Cotton slum village in Nairobi. The destruction was ordered by the former Kenyan president Moi. Also here his material was used as evidence in court and on request of the City Cotton residents, he started to advise & help the community in their peaceful struggle for justice. Three years down the line, the City Cotton residents won the initial court case against Moi and the Kenyan Government with a landmark ruling. Former Kenyan president Moi (and his heirs) were obviously not happy with the outcome of the case and went into appeal.

After RxAxLxF got involved with these cases, ‘things’ started to happen to him.

‘Things’ like being accused of massive tax fraud, as well in Kenya as in The Netherlands. Both cases started with a lot of drama and threats, though after a lot of back and forth, the respective Governments seemed at some stage not to follow up any more. RxAxLxF was not indicted nor declared innocent. A status which lasts up to today, meaning the cases can be re-started theoretically at any time in both countries.

After that many more ‘things’ happened, like RxAxLxF’s office in Nairobi being flooded as ‘somebody’ opened one night all the water taps in the office above and blocked all sinks. Because of the flooding, his office in Nairobi became inhabitable and lots of equipment was destroyed. The culprits were never found.
Also in Nairobi, landlords canceled suddenly long-term tenancies irregularly, giving nervously all kind of fluffy reasons.
He received many calls at all times of the day from all kind of anonymous callers, who demanded he would hand over his materials to them. They dished out all kind of threats to him in case he wouldn’t.
As he had no inclination to respond to any of those threats, some sounded that serious that he had to go several times into hiding.

‘Things’ like these do actually have an official name in security agencies’ language. ‘Sting operations’ are meant ‘to sting’ a target, just like an angry wasp might do. A human might not die from a wasp’s sting, but will definitely feel a bit miserable afterwards. And lose a bit of energy on it too. Most humans once being stinged will take appropriate measures to not being stinged again.

The above cases might be therefore not just related directly to the artworks, though be part of a larger process. As RxAxLxF got involved with some really Big Fish, aka the Powers that Be, it seems that these are things that might happen to a small fish like RxAxLxF when the small fish opens his mouth too far.
Also not everything is related to the Kenyan cases. The Dada festival case is most likely completely disconnected of the others, though a good example how pre-emptive intimidation might work by government officials in a small province town somewhere in the European Union who are getting drunk from power .

Though, what’s even more striking is the occurrence of many of these cases being spread over 2 countries. The common view of Europeans on ‘Africa’ is that ‘things like those can be expected over there’, but that Western countries like The Netherlands are far above practices of censoring and intimidation by government agencies. Nevertheless, the same patterns can be seen: in all cases, the involved government institutions seem to avoid ‘paper trails’, possibly to minimize the traces being left behind.

Another common practice is to put pressure on people and organizations in-between to suppress the real targets. The preferred choice of contemporary censors is to reach their means not by physical suppression, though rather through mental intimidation. A state of misty fear is created, where the target is never sure what to expect, mental insecurity by design. If that doesn’t work, the next step might be physical though. Incarceration, torture or even complete physical annihilation is all part of the toolbox.

The most effective censorship is to create a mental state of the targeted person where the target censors him or herself pre-emptive, being afraid of possible punishment.

While dealing with the various censorship cases, RxAxLxF learned that the mainstream media are nothing to rely on. Leave alone to report about the hard to prove ‘sting operations’ by various culprits, which are by design accompanied by an air of ‘conspiracy theory’ with which no serious media outlet wants to be involved with. Also when the censorship became official, like in the case of the confiscated Gods of Money artworks, RxAxLxF found out that the average journalist does not want to land him- or herself in trouble. In a country like Kenya, this counts as well for local as foreign journalists. RxAxLxF invited many to report about the cases, though once they heard with which kind of powerful people RxAxLxF is involved, none of them showed up. A never ending stream of reasons came to RxAxLxF’s ears. It seemed that some journalists were falling from one illness into another one, others lost continuously their diary and others seemed to have their complete family eradicated, as they had to run from one unexpected funeral to another one.
Foreign, mostly Nairobi-based western journalists happened always to be on the farthest side of Africa or were just on holiday in their country of origin or were stuck in the bad Nairobi traffic jam.

Though, one foreign journalist told me that he isn’t crazy. Writing anything involving the untouchables of Kenya would earn him a one-way ticket back home. And he had a well paying expat job, was married to a lovely Kenyan wife, had a couple of beautiful children and had to pay off the mortgage for an even more beautiful big house. He looked forward to spend his retirement in Kenya, no way he would torpedo that himself.
Another foreign correspondent told me that this cases are so normal in Africa that none of the readers of his Dutch quality newspaper would be interested in that story. According to him, readers ‘back home’ like positive news about Africa these days. Just before hanging up, he asked why ‘I don’t join the AfroBubblegum art bandwagon? That’s at least some Art about nothing, just for the sake of it, though colourful’. I assured him I would think about his suggestion.

If the mainstream media ever had a role of being the ‘Guardians of Democracy’, then they have forsaken that role quite a while ago. As well on the level of the individual journalist, as well on the corporate level of the particular medium, too many commercial and political interests are influencing the reporting. Media houses were also before not neutral, though with the massive amount of alternative media streams on the side these days, the lack of objectivity is very visible. If reporting about censorship cases at all, the mainstream media will most often copy the reporting about  them (just like most other ‘news’) from one another and only report about them when they expect not to endanger themselves with the reporting.

As bonus to the confiscated artworks, also a bunch of online trolls showed up, just in time. When RxAxLxF published about the confiscated works, suddenly some characters were up for a fight. Denouncing RxAxLxF in all kind of manners and hammering on the ‘facts’ that for sure RxAxLxF has broken clearly some laws, therefore being rightfully punished. As much as there are for sure truckloads of deeply frustrated and unhappy people out there, whose whole pleasure in life might be to insult others online, the particular characters kept sticking on RxAxLxF’s online accounts like flies on a fresh hoop of dogshit. When RxAxLxF involved them in some question & answer game, he learned that those people claimed to know more than RxAxLxF himself on things like the status of his confiscated works. As much as he never received any official indictment from the Kenyan Government, these people spelled out the texts of complete Kenyan laws which RxAxLxF should have broken. When RxAxLxF decided to step the game up and started to interrogate them if they are paid by anybody to do so, one after another disappeared.
Another Fata Morgana-like experience, with a bunch of screen shots as materialized memory remaining.