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Bank promotes art to boost creative economy

The I&M Group has reaffirmed its commitment to promoting art with the intention of supporting the growth of the creative economy in East Africa.

I&M Group has over the years invested over Sh. 120 million through the collection of art pieces and partnerships with artisan groups in Kenya.

I&M Group will consolidate its efforts in the arts by providing much-needed financing and advisory support.

Through the showcasing of successful industry players and partnerships that will facilitate access to opportunities within the creative industry, I&M Bank hopes to inspire both industry professionals and the public, to explore and benefit from the wealth of opportunities the creative sector offers.

Speaking during the launch of ‘The I&M Art Experience’, I&M Group Executive Director, Sarit Raja Shah, noted that the group has been a strong advocate for the arts over the years, providing platforms for both established and young artists to exhibit their work and nurture their careers.

“I&M Group recognizes the importance of the arts ecosystem in Eastern Africa and is seeking to support the growth of the creative economy in Eastern Africa, under the creative theme “The Art of Progress” through the expansion of its current activities and by providing more avenues for artists in Eastern Africa to thrive. By shining this spotlight and facilitating the successes of the industry, the bank aims to not only support growth but also inspire the next generation of artistic talent in the region,” said Mr. Shah.

He added: “Art is a powerful medium that communicates experiences, evokes emotions, and connects people. While art is predominantly experienced in galleries, collectives, and creative spaces, I&M Group envisions bringing art to a wider audience by creating more platforms for East African artists to showcase their work. The group aims to encourage greater engagement from diverse groups and individuals, fostering a deeper appreciation for East African art.”

The group has curated a collection of captivating art pieces by local East African artists, which adorn various I&M Bank offices, creating an inspiring ambience for customers and staff. ‘The I&M Art Experience Coffee Table Book’; a 123-page publication – documented 98 art pieces from 57 artists that the bank has invested in over the last 25 years. The coffee table book includes a brief synopsis of the artist and their work.

The exclusive launch event was a feast of artistic excellence with an immersive art gallery showcase of paintings by the talented artists featured in the book, sculptures, and beaded artworks from the MAA Women’s Group and I&M Foundation collaboration.

The event brought together esteemed guests, including artists, bank customers, and stakeholders of the wider art community.

During the event, the I&M Group also unveiled a stunning art piece that depicts the creation of an aluminum panel designed by the Loisaba Conversancy and handcrafted by the Samburu women from the ‘Chiu Mamas’ and ‘Kirimon Ladies’ groups to give birth to the beautiful piece of art that sits with pride at the front entrance of the I&M Group Headquarters, 1 Park Avenue.

Creative businesses are becoming significant drivers of economic growth and job creation, both nationally and globally. According to a study conducted by the British Council and HEVA Fund, the creative sector has contributed a remarkable 5% to the national GDP as of 2017.

Artists possess traits that are essential for successful creative entrepreneurship, such as risk-taking, innovation, and a desire to make a positive impact in the community. With the right financial tools and business education, creative entrepreneurs and businesses can thrive and contribute even more to the economy.

By Joseph Ng’ang’a

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