Department of African Arts, Crafts and Culture

Introduction

The department of African arts, crafts and culture was established in the year 2012 with the aim of promoting African culture and Creativity. We believe that the African Story has not been correctly told and to a large extent, the story has been narrated by foreigners. The department aims at narrating the African story and showcasing the African creativity evidenced by the African arts and crafts which symbolize the African culture. Every African art has a story behind it and sometimes a story within a story!

 The African culture is multifaceted and a product of the diverse populations that inhabit the African continent today. The continent comprises a number of ethnic communities.  Nairobi Institute of Information & Communication Technology recognizes the need to harness the African cultural resources to enrich the process of education and economic empowerment of the ethnic communities. In recent times, the need for a much greater emphasis on the cultural dimension in all aspects of development has increased significantly. The continent's cultural regeneration has also been an integral aspect of post-independence nation-building on the continent.

African arts and crafts

Africa has a rich tradition of arts and crafts. African arts and crafts find expression in a variety of woodcarvings, brass and leather art works etc. African arts and crafts also include sculpture, paintings, pottery and ceremonial wear. Research on African arts shows that, the object of African art was not necessarily important as the soul force behind the creation of the object. The studies also argue that each art must be revolutionary i.e. it must be collective, committing, and functional. According to Shahadah, all art in Africa is socially functional.

African culture has always placed emphasis on personal appearance and jewelry has remained an important personal accessory. Many pieces of such jewelry are made of cowry shells and similar materials. Similarly, masks are made with elaborate designs and are important part of African culture.

In most of traditional art and craft of Africa, certain themes significant to African culture recur, including a couple, a woman with a child, a male with a weapon or animal, and an outsider or a stranger. Couples may represent ancestors, community founder, married couple or twins. The couple theme rarely exhibit intimacy of men and women. The mother with the child or children reveals intense desire of the African women to have children. The man with the weapon or animal theme symbolizes honor and power.

These and other themes in African culture are captured by trainers in the department. Special lessons on arts and design are also organized with high schools and primary schools as part of community empowerment programs. We market children artworks in international markets and help the children pay for their school fees. The department participates in international and local trade fairs and exhibitions, where African arts and crafts are show cased.