March 7, 2011 – Right beside my bed, stands a lovely miniature rocking chair that doubles as a mobile phone holder and is the recent addition to my “artsy” collection. (The rocking chair was made by Stephen Gitau Mukora, a Jua Kali artisan (who is actually a University graduate) who specializes in models and miniature pieces). I got it as a gift from the Viti exhibition which was officially opened last Friday and is currently ongoing at the Michael Joseph Centre within the Safaricom headquarters.
An exhibition about chairs? You may want to ask. That was my question exactly until I saw the exhibits myself.
The Viti exhibition is the first ever furniture-making-as-an-art exhibition and the Michael Joseph Centre agreed to host a premier furniture exhibition seeing as they appreciate and support everything that has to do with the arts and culture.
The two-month exhibition will among other things showcase the diversity and skills in Kenya’s furniture making industry as well as highlighting the use of an array of affordable and locally available materials like water hyacinth.
Speaking during the official launch cocktail, Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore said the exhibition will in addition to showcasing creativity in furniture makR exposed the artists to increased business opportunities.
“Safaricom believes in engaging communities and individuals in initiatives that economically empower them and positively transform their living standards. It is expected that this exhibition will expose the talent that lies among our furniture designers and position them for business opportunities,” said Mr. Collymore.
Also on display at the exhibition will be traditional masterpieces that reflect Kenya’s cultural diversity and historical senses.
Since opening last year, the Michael Joseph Centre has been showcasing various art talents in the country through exhibitions that cut across all works of art.
Safaricom as a company has been engaged in various initiatives geared towards supporting arts in the country. These range from fashion shows to the establishment of the Michael Joseph Centre, a huge floor dedicated to exhibitions of artworks by Kenyan artists.
Last month the company partnered with Kuona Trust, a local organization that supports visual arts in a fundraising auction that raised over Sh2 million for the construction exhibition studios.
The exhibition boasts a display that is not only pleasing to the eyes but gives you more insight into different cultures and a bit of their history and way of life as well as make you appreciate what Kenyan artists can do. Yes! There is an exhibition about chairs and it is very interesting…and what’s more?… you can go check it out.