Ebony Magazine, March 1969 Film News, June 1966 Latin America and then East Africa stirred a deep longing to plant roots in cultures that exemplified family, community and a deep connection to the environment. It therefore came as no surprise to her, and her boss back home, when on her second tour to East Africa, she decided to make Tanzania her home, and later Kenya. Phillda has been resident in Tanzania and Kenya over forty years, becoming Elimo’s wife and raising three children together, and now serves as the Paa ya Paa gallery’s archivist, curator and tour guide. In its heyday in the 1970s and 1980s, Paa ya Paa served as the hub of cultural activity when it was frequented by the likes of Okot P Bitek, Philip Ochieng, Ngugi wa Thiong’o and Hilary Ng’weno, among international notables such as Nigerian playwright and Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka, former US President Jimmy Carter, Sidney Poitier and US civil rights activist, Dick Gregory. Unbowed by a 1997 inferno that consumed sculptures, artefacts, paintings and over 7,000 literature books worth millions of shillings, the charred remains and structure are slowly been reconstructed with the help of artists and well-wishers and the gallery paintings now hang in the burned ruins of the 100-year-old colonial house, which gives it an even more artistic finish. The last two decades have not been kind to Paa ya Paa as attention has shifted to other art galleries and art forms, but Phillda and Elimo find solace among the mainly young artists who come faithfully to the centre to be mentored by the master painter-sculptor. Paa ya Paa’s legacy lives on under the very capable hands of Phillda, and her husband Elimo, and Phillda’s desire is not only see Paa ya Paa flourish again, but to pick up a camera and revisit her first love for photography. The Courier News, Nov 1969 Ebony Magazine, March 1969 Old Rollei-cord 120 box camera 20 africanphotomagazine ISSUE 7 NOVEMBER 2017 21
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