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History About East Africa’s Art Scene

Mwili, Akili na Roho (Body, Mind and Spirit) – on in Nairobi, Kenya – is a major international exhibition presenting east African painters who are key players in the modernist art of the region. The exhibition features a group of artists from different generations who vary in backgrounds, as well as in the themes and forms of their art. They represent 50 years of east African art – from 1950 to 2000. While modernism is most commonly associated with the western world – think Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse or Marc Chagal – these African modernist artists often critique western stereotypes about “primitive” colonised peoples at the same time as they yearn to recover pre-colonial modes of experience. This is one of the aspects that makes the exhibition so powerful.