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Arena for Contemporary African, African-American and Caribbean Art

Author: Zihan Kassam

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The Lamu Art Festivals in Kenya

LumaPaintersFestival

It would be a shame if the festival is discontinued before it has reached its potential, and before we can see the impact it can make. As for plein-air paintings, even the harshest of critics can succumb to that one nostalgic picture. Plein-air paintings call attention for the places they depict. They encourage a dialogue about the things that happen there. In an ideal world, the Lamu Painters Festival would work to create awareness about Lamu and to promote the preservation of a special place.

Zihan Kassam on The Lamu Art festivals in Kenya

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Michael Soi: live from Kuona Trust

Soi2

He uses comedy to shine a light on the seedy aspects of modern Kenyan life. Those who do not pay attention to his message and those who cannot digest the satire tend to misconstrue his motives.

Zihan Kassam on the Kenyan artist Michael Soi

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Thom Ogonga

Thom Ogoga Woodcut print Untitled (2)

A collector, a historian, an arbitrator and an advisor, each of his roles stems from his genuine interest in the arts. The functions Thom Ogonga assumes are all indicators of the renovations and revolutions occurring on the local art scene. Add to the list the designation ‘voyeur’ as Thom Ogonga beholds a lucid vision of the abundant future of art on his side of the globe.

Zihan Kassam on Kenyan artist Thom Ogonga.
Untitled, woodcut print.

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Democracy & Demeanour

LonginosDemocracyMyPissDetail

“Emerging artists (…) are asking important questions about the purpose of art and what it can achieve. Using new techniques and mediums, they are creating artwork that contributes to the socio-political discourse in the country. While the youngest artists struggle to find their voice, it is a rite of passage that certainly pays off over time.”

Zihan Kassam on Kenyan artists engaging in political and social discourse.
Longinos Lagina, Democracy my Piss (detail), 2016.

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Shabu Mwangi

JUdiciary2013

Shabu’s mixed-media paintings explore the frail condition of humanity and the callous ways in which we treat each other. In a ravenous world, wheeled by the rich and powerful, he genuinely and relentlessly empathizes with the kind, the poor, and the displaced.

Zihan Kassam on the work of the Kenyan artist Shabu Mwangi.

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