By Iminza Keboge
Published January 26, 2016
An exhibition that explores the possibility of artists, scholars and producers of culture working together is running at Nairobi National Museum (NNM) daily till February 19, 2016.
From the outset, it is clear this is no ordinary art show. It seems to lean more towards theory than practice. And even its title and theme attest to this; it is couched in academic jargon that is likely to confuse an ordinary mind.
Sponsored by British Institute in Eastern Africa (BIEA), the show is the continuation of a similar event held at BIEA in Nairobi on October 24, 2015; it was titled Remains, Waste and Metonymy: A critical intervention into art/scholarship and had similar objectives.
The current exhibition opened in the Aga Khan Hall of NNM on January 22, 2016.
“The unifying question bringing the interventions traced here together is how an approach to stuff as incomplete, open-ended and emergent can offer critical scrutiny to the assumed finality, stability and comfort of ‘objects’, ‘persons’ and landscapes,” the organisers say in a statement to the media. “Always ‘in the making’ remains and waste often appear like unfinished biographies, metaphors, symbols or narrations that promise but rarely deliver entirely coherent meanings, bounded entities and stable wholes. Their indeterminacy can be creatively explored to reveal the excessive multiplicities of time, substance and space.”
“In exhibiting the remnants of these interventions here,” say co-curators Neo Sinixolo Musangi and Joost Fontein, “we seek to reflect on how the traces of events outlive their particular moments, mirroring how our approach emphasises process than product, emergence rather than finality, the subjunctive rather than the conditional, and the possible rather than the certain.”
They say their aim in “bringing together a diversity of critical intellectualism” is “ to provoke longer explorations of the uneasy yet creative analytical space between scholarship and the arts around the themes of materiality and temporality.”
Those participating in the show are Syowia Kyambi, Meshack Oiro, Samuel Mandela, Fawaz Elsaid, Sam Derbyshire, John Harries, Sam Hopkins, Annie Pfingst, Connie Smith, Simon Rittmeier, Neo Musangi and Joost Fontein.