By Ogova Ondego
Published January 2, 2014
Kuona Trust, that opens its doors to the public on January 7, promises exciting programmes for practitioners and lovers of visual arts in Kenya in 2014.
Among the activities lined up for the year, Kuona says in its December 2013 newsletter, are concept-based art exhibitions, movie nights, public art projects, art sales, art residencies and art workshops in photography, batik, welding and sculpting.
The Nairobi-based Kuona Trust reports that in 2013 it “took art to the streets with our public art projects, we collaborated and partnered with various art centres, artists, and communities around Africa to bring you exciting programmes and events.”
The Residency programme expanded to Tanzania (Nafasi Art Centre), Uganda (32 Degrees East, and Weaver Bird) and to Nayahururu in Kenya where, with the Tafaria Foundation, it opened an outreach art centre. It also held workshops for children, families, adults and schools.
During 2013 Kuona held workshops for artists in Copyright & Intellectual Property Rights and in Project management besides sending two artists to Tafaria in Nyhahururu to work with the local community.
Reporting that its residency programme that provides opportunities for artists and links to new partnerships in eastern Africa, Africa and outside the continent is continuing to grow, Kuona says the initiative “will see an increase of artist exchanges across Kenya and Tanzania in the next three years. Meshack Oiro and Dickens Otieno have both visited the Nafasi Art centre in Tanzania for 4-week residencies while Kuona has hosted Lutengano Mwakisopile and Thobias Minzi from Tanzania’s Nafasi Art Centre.”
Perhaps the highlight of the year or Kuona was Art50, its two-day annual event that brought together younger and veteran artists as well as players in the visual arts sector in Nairobi to celebrate art and artists and engage them in panel discussions and debates around the journey of the visual arts in Kenya. They explored the various ways of bringing together the artist community, the role of artists in the value chain, the role of government, markets and pricing as well as government and how the arts can influence legislation and policy in Kenya.
“It was also a rare opportunity for younger artists to meet older generation artists who have played a great role in paving the way for the visual arts in Kenya. This event also invited exciting entertainment and performances,” Kuona reports.
The second day of Art50 was packed with fun filled, all day art activities and workshops—bottle craft, casting and molding, toy car making, painting—for both young and not-so-young.