Art missionaries

Posted: December 31, 2012 in Uncategorized

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I’m an art missionary. I am a representative of the ever-growing movement of rural artists Rural In The Citi. I mentioned this to those who made it to the exhibition at OdLum (House of Grass) Gallery in Yala, Kenya. The same was mentioned to those who made it to Rural In The Citi’s Art Talk at Kuona Trust Gallery in Nairobi, Kenya. The movement was invited to celebrate Street Children Festival that took place in Kenya on the 10th of December 2012.

The Street Children Festival is an annual worldwide celebration. This event honours and celebrates street children who go through trying circumstances – the daily circumstances that have robbed them of the simple joy of being children, or simply lack the guidance to distinguish between right and wrong. As a result, they lack the comfort and guidance that most of us have. Through this festival and Rural In The Citi Movement’s art workshops, the aim was to redeem our societal dignity concerning our influence towards matters relating to street children.

Meanwhile Rural in the Citi as a movement brings together artists from various forms of art. Artists from rural area or focusing on rural art get to collaborate on various projects that aim to highlight rural development and participate as citizens in major debates that affects them. The movement encompasses various kinds of artists such as poets, photographers, novelists, painters, documentary filmmakers, and so on. The main aim of the movement is to give rural artists a chance to showcase their work and promote rural art. At the same time we conduct art workshops with children in schools and rural villages. We hope this platform can help put bread on the table and also help many to become active participants through art as marginalised citizens.

As a missionary through Rural in the Citi Movement, we strive to teach positive communication skills in matters that affect the marginalized living outside of the cities.  The movement believes that in extreme and difficult social circumstances, it is imperative that children in the rural space are provided with the stability of anchoring activities that keep them positively occupied and provide them with a sense of self-worth and of their democratic future. Unfortunately most public schools in many African countries have scrapped art as a subject in their classrooms. Hence many children lack creativity as well as the skills to do something outside of their school borders. Moreover, positive role models and opportunities to learn life skills are absolutely essential if these children are to break out of the cycle of poverty in which they are currently entrapped.  But it is also imperative that they know about their rights as citizens of this planet earth. Art can be utilised as the medium to transfer that message. The movement is therefore aiming to facilitate the process whereby artists as well as children in rural settings realise their worth via these discussions. In Kenya this was achieved and more has so far been anticipated in many other areas.

The trip taught me that a knife is best served when in use. Otherwise, corrosion does it in. So should funds come along, we plan to continue with more art projects similar to the recent one in Kenya. I don’t like to believe in destiny more than I believe in action. I want to believe in process more than I believe in efficiency, hence my role in this art project.

In conclusion I would like to thank all the people who made this happen. Among many others are included Miyere Ole Miyandazi, Bridgett Neumaker, Kelvin Keya, Oloo John, Tom Onyango, Odlum Gallery, and Kuona Trust Gallery. I cannot also forget to thank the two schools (Luri primary Schools and Furaha Seed Academy) that participated in the Storytelling Through Art Program.

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