Art in Kenya

In Kenya, we find in Swahili whitewashed buildings with carved doorframes in dark wood, wooden chests with metal fittings and chairs with inlays of ivory. The Masai are especially known for their large circular neck jewelery made of very small beads. Otherwise, wood sculptures form an important part of the tourist trade, in addition multicolored curves with leather reinforcements.

Nairobi is an East African Center for Contemporary Art and since 1965 the Paa Ya Paa Arts Center has served as a meeting place for artists. Elimo Njau and Rose Mary Karuga are considered among the pioneers of modern Kenyan art.

Art in Kenya

Music in Kenya

Music and dance are part of a number of contexts in daily life, and on occasions related to the life and year cycle. Most practitioners are semi-professional and have the music as a side effect.

On the basis of ethnic and cultural inequalities, Kenya can be divided into music regions: the coastal, highland and western coastal regions, the Swahili region with a certain Arab influence, the Kushite-Somali region, the Paranilotic and the Nilotic Luo regions. Each of these exhibits characteristic features.

Although pure instrumental music is rare, many instrument types are used: flute, horn, lyre, harp, lute instrument, musical arch, drum, rustle and percussion are available in a number of designs.

Perhaps especially because the country got off to a good start with record production, Kenya plays an important role in the development of East African pop music, or “jazz” as it is often called. This urban style is dominated by electric guitars and song, with rhythms that have local roots, but it has also absorbed elements of Western and Pan-African pop music.

Theater in Kenya

In colonial times there was a theater form in Kenya called Little Theater, and it was the white settlers who drove it as a refuge from an ever-stronger anti-colonialist movement. This movement, in turn, also used theater to promote its views. In 1952, the British colonial authorities opened a cultural center with a national theater, The National Theater. In addition to traditional pre-colonial drama, a Kenyan drama and theater developed on the basis of the educational structure established by the colonial power. From the late 1940s, the Nairobi African Dramatic Society (Nairobi’s African Dramatic Society) came into operation. This was an organization for the African people.

After independence

When Kenya became independent, theater operations continued as before without the new situation being reflected in the activities of the national theater. However, a new theater development came with the University Theater in Nairobi. Here, African pieces of Wole Soyinka and Lewis Nkosi. A national theater school was also established. Social contradictions due to. neo-colonialism became visible in the 1970s. The social conditions tightened, and a certain degree of censorship was exercised by the authorities. The National Theater has increasingly focused on local conditions.

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