Agenda: Intergenerational Dialogue on Visual Arts

Participants: Creative Economy Working Group

Date: 1st March 2019

Time: 8am- 5pm

Venue: GoDown Art Centre

The forum started with introduction and welcome address led by Joy Mboya the founder of The GoDown Arts Centre. Prof. Kimani Njogu from the Twaweza Communications took us through the main agenda and an introduction on the Creative Economy and visual arts.

Joy Mboya welcoming the attendees

She stated that the main aim for The Creative Working Economy Group is to create an environment where artists are able to create, develop and celebrate their imaginations. It is involved in drafting constitution related to arts and culture through consolatory committee. Under this agenda we discussed:

·        creation of spaces and opportunity for mentorship and  education

·        problems faced by the creative industry

·        the dialogues across generations

·        access of technology by the younger generation

Toma Kamau working on the Nairobi Contemporary project took us through 1990’s phase of the creative industry. He highlighted that the 1989 exhibition led by Joe Kigozi was a game changer and it split opinions about the African Art halfway. The post production places started with the galleries, the public arts on spaces were done on the buses and competitions were organized for exposure. There was a rapid shift on how information was passed due to access of the internet.

Kangara Wa Njambi did visual arts in the 1980s. The artists in this phase collected artifacts that represented Kenya and put them in the Kenya Archives. Political situations did not allow them to get abstracts. They also put up galleries for people to showcase their artworks, even though there is no documentation about the 80’s that is available. He insisted that creative industry should strive to start art galleries and archives at the county level instead of national.

Mzee Njau insisted that love and faith should drive one to work. We need to embrace our mother tongue because it’s the tongue of conscience.Artists should use creativity to challenge the day.

The questions asked were;

i.           What has constituted the intergenerational structures?

ii.           What is the scope and breadth of visual arts training?

iii.           How does mentoring work for artists? , Do we mentor the upcoming artists? , How?

iv.           Do we value archiving and collection?

Key points from the responses are:

  1. Artists should educate/train people using visible and understandable images about how to recreate their lives.
  2. Practice satisfies the art making.
  3. Interacting with people in the internet helps one grows their skills and ideas.
  4. We should mentor and fund the younger generation between 0-22yrs
  5. We need to reconnect with the places we come from so as to be culturally rich.
  6. Archives should be accessed by the public for exposure.
  7. We should explore matter of heritage education and research.
  8. Kenyans should accommodate, support, market and monitor local art works.

We concluded that the Creative Working Economy Group should advocate for artists to get spaces for creativity in each county. The government should help improve their working spaces and skills. We should value art and culture.

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