Born in 1961 in Moiben, Eldoret in Kenya, Bulinya is the leading Kenyan artist of the generation that emerged in the wake of the influence of Jak Katarikawe and Elimo Njau. Bulinya studied Design in the University of Nairobi and became an artist through informal studio at Kawangware. There, he absorbed the acute attention to form associated with his peers, who included Oliver Ludenyi, Ole Simpiri, Macua Ng’ethe, Mainga, Shake Makelele, Mazoa, Stephen Mbatia, Stephen Njenga and a host of others. Subsequently refining his own visual and conceptual vocabulary that emerged through his focus on the points of intersection between Maasai traditional art and designs, the African expressionism, and European masters like Picasso, Monet, Van Gogh, Gauguin etc.
Bulinya’s work can be found in myriad of public and private art collections both in the United States and France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Australia and has been seen in numerous exhibitions worldwide. He currently lives and works in Nairobi, Kenya, and Kampala.
The emphasis of this particular portfolio is art about the Maasai people. The Maasai are a semi-nomadic people located in Kenya and northern Tanzania. They are among the best known of African nationals, due to their distinctive elaborate customs and dress and residence near the many game parks of East Africa. The Tanzanian and Kenyan governments have instituted programs to encourage the Maasai to abandon their traditional semi-nomadic lifestyle, but the people have continued their age-old customs. Recently, experts in environmental matters advised that the lifestyle of the Maasai should be embraced as a response to climate change because of their ability to farm in deserts and scrublands. As an artist, Bulinya focuses on their material culture and humble but elaborate lifestyle.
Women chant lullabies, humming songs, and songs praising their sons. Nambas, the call-and-response pattern, repetition of nonsense phrases, monophonic melodies repeated phrases following each verse being sung on a descending scale, and singers responding to their own verses are characteristic of singing by females.When many Maasai women gather together, they sing and dance among themselves.
One exception to the vocal nature of Maasai music is the use of the horn of the Greater Kudu. The ladies display their
expertise in dance before the warriors.
Both singing and dancing sometimes occur around manyattas, and involve flirting. Young men will form a line and chant rhythmically
with a growl and stacatto cough along with the thrust and withdrawal of their lower bodies. Girls stand in front of the men and make the same pelvis lunges while singing
The olaranyani is usually the lead singer. He can best sing specific songs.The Masai songs are poetry. The olaranyani begins by singing the title of the song. The group will responds in unison. Each song has its specific song structure based on call-and-response.
One myth about the Maasai is that each young man is supposed to kill a lion before he is circumcised. Lion hunting was an activity of the past, but it has been banned in East Africa—yet lions are still hunted when they maul Maasai livestock.
When a new generation of warriors is initiated, the existing ilmoran will graduate to become junior elders, who are responsible for political decisions until they in turn become senior elders.The warriors spend most of their time now on walkabouts throughout Maasai lands, beyond the confines of their sectional boundaries.
A Maasai woman will never be allowed to divorce, except in the most egregious cases of physical abuse, and will never be allowed to marry again, even if the husband her father chooses is an old man who dies when she is still in her teens. Instead, she marries her husband's brother.
The end of the period of senior warrior hood, in which a man is already married and has a family, is called Ol Ngesher
As an elder both men and women assume responsibilities pertaining to the administration of the whole clan.
The Maasai are herders; they do not grow crops. They get grains from their neighbors the Kipsigis.
The vibrant Maasai Market in Oloingilani, a true festival of color and form, offers an opportunity for all handicraft shoppers to buy some of the rich crafts art and other products from Maasai land