DUOS Festival Fostering Women Empowerment Through Art In Kilifi

DUOS Festival
Written by See Africa Today

In a country where the value for art is somewhat underrated, DUOS Festival seems to be the answer. And it is a major conduit for women empowerment campaigns through Kenyan-Polish-inspired art.

The two-day festival slated for September 3 and September 4 in Kilifi gives a unique artistry platform. Artists from Poland and Kenya will meet, engage and exchange ideas.

This year’s theme is Women Power. Kenyan varsity students and the community will be part of the second edition of the DUOS Festival.

There will be an exhibition of artwork by artists in Kilifi in collaboration with Polish instructors/artists. They are from the Art Academy of Szczecin, a city in northwestern Poland.

The second edition of the DUOS Festival comes as Joanna Szymanska takes over from Iwona Lula.

Joanna is II Secretary Political, Economic, Consular & Diaspora Section at the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Nairobi.

DUOS Festival Empowering Women

Women Power theme is meant to raise awareness and combat rampant cases of violence against women and girls in Kilifi. The county is also dogged by high teenage pregnancy cases which DUOS Festival intends to address through artistic work.

DUOS Festival

DUOS Festival. [Photo: Muzeum Naodowe

Eight Polish and Kenyan duos – artists in other words – spent the entire month of August creating beautiful pieces. They drew their inspiration from the legendary Mijikenda warrior Mekatilili wa Menza as their honorary patron.

Their final works will be in exhibition at the Kilifi DUOS Festival and in Poland too.

Mekatiili was and still is the epitome of what women’s empowerment should be all about. Her heritage as a woman leader in the precolonial era inspire art and cultural works raising awareness about women’s empowerment.

Poland Visit

Thereafter, Kenyan artists will fly to Poland – the northwestern region – for a corresponding exhibition of art. They will exhibit their art pairing at the National Museum in Szczecin from both the upcoming DUOS Festival and a DUOS event held in Kilifi in March.

The festival is part of the Transcultural Perspectives in Art and Art Education (TPAAE) project.

During the festival to be held at different points in Kilifi Township for two days, there will also be a kid’s session. According to the organizers of the event, DUOS Kids Festival will go down at Seahorse School Dockers School.

Its intent is to extend meaningful artistic experiences to children. Coupled with learning using new materials, colors and languages they explore their creativity to the maximum.

Further, with the participation of artists, teachers, and volunteers, this artistic treasure hunt provides a model for workshops and educational activities in schools and community centers.

Pwani University DUOS Festival

Pwani University in Kilifi is a major beneficiary of the DUOS Festival. It is a hub for a joint art exhibition by Kenyan and Polish artists. Through the TPAAE project, Pwani University now offers an undergraduate degree in Fine Arts and Design.

The European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program funds TPAAE.

Essentially, TPAAE uses Contemporary Art from Europe and East Africa as the foundation for community and social development.

The project creates practical and theoretical dialogues for social and community development in a cultural framework.

DUOS Festival art

DUOS Festival art. [Photo: BTB Crew]

Studies by project partners into the influences on artistic traditions shared by Europe and East Africa provide academic insight. The form the core of theoretical and academic underpinnings enhancing art production in Kenya and East Africa.

As part of its multi-pronged approach, the practical aspect of the DUOS Festivals is complemented by the work of professors from the Art Academy of Szczecin, Università di Macerata in Macerata, Italy, and from Kenyatta University who are working to create a curriculum for the degree programs.

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About the author

See Africa Today

Pharis Kinyua is the editor of See Africa Today. With over seven years of experience in digital media, he has a soft spot for African tours and travel. His drive is to tell the rest of the world what Africa offers, the best accommodation facilities, national parks, culture, shopping malls and best airline deals to travel to Africa

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