She calls herself a shy, eccentric daydreamer who loves what she does in the artistic spaces. Liz Kilili is the ‘Chief Mechanic’ at the Creatives Garage. This is a hub that was born from a quest to engage in cultural activism and enable creatives to venture into social innovation. To date, her overall leadership has steered the hub to partner with 7,000 creatives who are guided to turn their craft into a source of livelihood.
“I have been in the creative industry for close to 15 years now. I lead a hub that is primarily evolving as a social innovator in creative spaces. Many people think the Creatives Garage is a real garage where cars get fixed, and in fact, you could equate us to a garage in the sense that we are a breeding ground where creatives are incubated, panel beat their ideas and learn from each other. This is where I derived my title as the Chief Mechanic; I engineer ideas through learning and sharing.
As a woman, I get inspiration from my daughter. Going home to her every day, sitting, laughing, being silly with her inspires me to be the kind of person she sees me as.?
In the course of my work, I have received backlash for championing for LGBT rights mostly when it comes to sponsorship of our events. This speaks to the fact that cultural spaces have consistently been perceived as disrespectful to past regimes in the country. I believe opportunities abound to reclaim these spaces, if only we [the creative community] organise ourselves to counter ingrained mind-sets.
Hivos East Africa was one of the few organisations that showed interest in supporting our work. Thanks to Hivos’ Age of Wonderland programme, creatives such as Roy Ombatti have gotten opportunities to be positioned as innovators in the creative industry. Government agencies such as the Ministry of Health are now interested in engaging him to develop prosthetic arms using 3D technology. Having someone who believed in Creatives Garage’s dreams and was willing to walk with us has given us exposure to great opportunities.
10 years from now, I see myself as a progressive change maker in the creative economy spaces.”