Art & Protest
Those are two words which, individually hold alot of weight. Coming together, well their potency has been witnessed throughout history be it through music, painting, poetry, graffiti, cartoons just to name a few.
I have witnessed both in their pure form; Art for artsake which serves to not only entertain but build an appreciation. Protest in the form of peaceful or non peaceful marching being the most used form.
In Kenya, my early memory of Art for Protest was the staging of Theatre plays by Ngugi wa Thiong’o and Miceere Mugo as well as by the late Whispers(Wahome Mutahi). That has for long stood out for me as the single most memorable manifestion of the power of Art for something greater until recently.
A few months back, Nairobi woke up to a form of art that had for years been relegated to the ‘Hip Hop Culture’. Graffiti. This was through depiction of Mps as ‘Vultures’ and the woes of a Kenyan citizen. In a country that is rearing to go into National polls very soon, the images took the country by storm prompting the need by the Kenyan Government through its City Council arm to exercise its control by defacing the artwork terming it as a violation of the Capital city’s by-laws.
Cartoons have always been a part and parcel of newspapers not just in Kenya but all over the world. However, what happens when these cartoons come alive in form of animations or puppets into motion pictures. What if their mission is not to entertain kids as cartoons have been known to do and instead satirize our political class?
Poets and Writers Online(POWO) June gathering which will be at the PAWA254 hub will be engaging various individuals who have ventured in one way or another into both worlds of Art and Protest. The June Panelists will be; Boniface Mwangi, Maddo, Muki Garang, Okoiti Omtata and Room Thinker.
The discussions will be looking at this topic of Art & Protest from a deeper perspective of ; is it necessary, how has it been used in the past, has it worked, is there a line between the two? what is its impact as opposed to pure protest among others
Register here, the event is free to attend.