Welcome to ArtMatters.Info, the creative and cultural entrepreneurship in eastern and southern Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands website published by ComMattersKenya Limited, a Nairobi-based communications, arts, culture, and development company.
ArtMatters.Info covers literary, visual, performing and screen arts–fine art, installation & sculpture, books, music & dance, film, video & television, fashion & beauty, puppetry, storytelling & theatre–travel, entertainment, leisure and lifestyle in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Sudan, Rwanda, Somalia, Zanzibar, Madagascar, Seychelles, Reunion, Mauritius, Mayotte, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Namibia.
This is done out of the recognition that art not only transcends social and cultural barriers but that it is a reflection of a people’s way of life. Artists occupy a position in society that enables them to provoke debate on issues too delicate to address in other fora. Any one who understands this power of the artists and the arts can use it in bringing about socio-cultural and economic changes as South Africans did during the Apartheid era.
Using music and theatre as tools of protest and survival, South Africans pulled down Apartheid, freed themselves from the shackles of racism, hate and slavery and ushered in a new era of hope, democracy and prosperity in 1994.
ArtMatters.Info is as objective and as independent as any professionally-run media organisation free of commercial, political or donor manipulation can be. Though running on the modern information communications technology backbone, ArtMatters.Info is a professional JOURNALISTIC media organization adhering to professional standards, ethics and values of Accuracy, Fairness, and Objectivity. Every effort is made to ensure that any information we provide is accurate, fair and objective before publication. ComMattersKenya, the publisher of ArtMatters.Info, is a non-religious, non-political institution founded on humanist principles opposed to any form of discrimination.
Consequently, the goal of ArtMatters.Info is to enlighten humanity about Africa in the hope of creating understanding and bringing about collaboration between Africans and the rest of the world.
ArtMatters.Info covers the creative, intellectual expression and lifestyle or culture spectrum from a journalistic–not abstract, academic sounding–reporting, discussion, analysis, and profiling of players in arts and culture and related sectors.
Carrying profiles of artists, an arts and entertainment diary, a fortnightly e-letter, a gallery, a comprehensive list of related websites, and classified adverts on arts, artists and arts-related events in the eastern and southern Africa and Indian Ocean Islands’ region, ArtMatters.Info is a handy tool for any one interested in the arts–general members of the public, musicians, actors, writers, filmmakers, fine artists, designers, sculptors, trainers, journalists, publicists, models, promoters, arts foundations and councils, funders and trusts, archivists, educationists, students, researchers, travel agents, tourists, diplomats, investors–to network and for the benefit of the arts in the eastern and southern African and Indian Ocean Islands’ region.
The only medium of its kind in eastern Africa devoted exclusively to the artistic and intellectual expressions and creative achievements of the region, ArtMatters.Info flaunts creativity and culture; it does not hide them in voluminous publications or make them news briefs in long, winding broadcasts as is currently the practice in the East African region.
Although having begun in December 2001 with a primary focus on Kenya, the vision of ArtMatters.Info expanded to East Africa in 2003, Indian Ocean Islands in 2004 and southern Africa in 2005. Come 2006, ArtMatters.Info broadened its vision even further to accommodate Africa, the African Diaspora and ‘good practice’ globally, in that order.
In a word, ArtMatters.Info popularises arts and culture by rising to people’s artistic, intellectual and creative achievements and aspirations.
The founder and director of ArtMatters.Info, Ogova Ondego, is an experienced creative writer, journalist and critic with his finger on the pulse of the arts. Through contacts established while serving major print and electronic media in Kenya on culture and the arts at various times, Ondego provides readers of ArtMatters.Info with reliable and authoritative information.
Ondego was singled out by the United Nations Development Programme in 2001 for “Outstanding Contribution Towards Volunteerism in Kenya” during the International Year of Volunteers that was marked at the end of 2001.
Having won a Kenya national creative writing competition seven years before the UN accolade, Ondego consults on arts, culture, communications and development issues in East Africa.
He has recently been involved in the launching of ArtMatters Skill-Development & Mentorship Programme, a national organisation bringing together arts journalists and writers in Kenya. Since its launch in April 2005, ArtMatters.Info has held workshops for arts journalists and critics in Nairobi (August 2006 and August 2007, August 2008, August 2009, August 2010, August 2011), Zanzibar (July 2005 and July 2006), Zimbabwe (August/September 2005) and Uganda (September 2005 and May 2007).
Lola Kenya Screen is the latest initiative of ComMattersKenya run under the ArtMatters.Info project.
ArtMatters.Info invites readers, seekers of information and experts on arts and lifestyle in eastern and southern Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands to telephone, SMS, email, or snail-mail us with whatever contribution or feedback they may have.