Few weeks ago a section of Kisumu residents poured into the streets condemning a statue that had been erected by the Hindu community to celebrate their 100th year presence in the town. Kisumu just like any other big town in Kenya is witnessing a growing cosmopolitan which consequently calls for more tolerance. Contrary, the so called christian protesters, became agitated as they felt the monument was not religious, not even the efforts of former P.M could calm them.
Ideally a statue depicts a people who upholds culture and values. In any case, monuments across the world stand tall to spell the length of a community’s history and illumine revered personalities and deeply held beliefs. From the Little Mermaid in Copenhagen, Denmark to Lions of Delos in Denmark to Statue of Liberty in Los Angeles, United States, tourists from all walks of life converge to watch them. Little if any is talked of the great men and women behind the artistic work.
Away from statues and closer home, am one of the perturbed Kenyans due to the state of our local art that has been abhorred and chocked for a long time.I sensationally remince with nostalgia the Art & Craft classes where we did everything from drawing to carving.This reminds me of my brother who in fact was more astounding in his drawing as compared to me, though that did not negate the love I had for the subject.Being one of the kids who grew not to develop a special interest in the sciences, I hold the belief that not everyone should dream to be a neurosurgeon, doctor or pilot. We should encourage our kids for instance to delve into professional photography, if not the lucrative and vibrant media industry and not just remaining in the usual ‘mainstream careers’ which are not only rigid but over flooded.Parents’ biggest role should be in helping their kids discover who they are and helping them decode their potentials.
Graffiti is another unexploited venture that is worth of enormous foreign exchange courtesy of cultural tourism. Of course it should not be done in a haphazard way as it will be an eye sore. It should be managed like they do in New York, Berlin, London or any other developed city in what they call ‘legal walls’ which are commissioned to beautify and help a city breathe life.
We are a generation that would not think twice when given a choice to either pull a duvet and watch a movie as opposed to frequenting a theatre hall, both are great ways of unwinding but the latter is more thrilling and real. We need more Lupita and Otongolos, drama & film schools and market to absorb the talents. We simply can do more to encourage that budding musical band, the industrious artist waiting for the next exhibition season, the captivating poet and the rest.George Bernard Shaw summarised it this way,”without Art, the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable”. I rest my case.