Kilele means "peak" or "summit" in Swahili, the lingua franca of East Africa. My artistic identity has in many ways grown out of my time in the mountains of Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, and the people of the region have deeply informed my understanding of what it means to be human and have a home.
I was born in Nairobi, Kenya and was raised exploring the African bush. From a young age, I was drawn to the great empty spaces of the plains and mountains and fascinated by the unique relationship between humans and the wild. As a boy I lived with the Maasai tribe on the border of Kenya and Tanzania, where I saw a culture deeply rooted and in love with their landscape.
I spent my adolescence exploring the highlands of Kenya, areas stark and remote that taught me the value of challenge, and of silence. I have since lived in the southeastern United States, a state overrun by rich forests and rivers, a playground for outdoorspeople. Here, too, I have found communities connected to their land and their wilderness.
In every new place, I find the same drive to explore: perhaps the colossal volcanoes on the horizon or perhaps just the source of the bubbling creek in the backyard. In each place I ask why we do what we do. Why do humans go higher, further, and deeper than any other animal? What compels us to strive for beauty? Why is it often so hard to find?
I look for stories of grit, perseverance, and joy; of people and communities that thrive in the harsh places on earth; of those who choose beauty over comfort and meaning over money.
I have cultivated skills in a variety of disciplines to become a consummate storyteller. I have significant experience writing, shooting photography and video, and public speaking. I have spent innumerable days in the woods and mountains learning to climb, explore and guide, and to do all of it with confidence and style. To see how these skills have developed and intertwined, read more about my background as an artist and an outdoorsman.
I rely on grants and sponsors who are similarly invested in the people of the wilderness. If you are interested in partnering with me, you can contact me here.