Creative artists in Kisumu County have sent out a clarion call for youth engagement with the visual arts industry as they focus on their cultures.
Stakeholders in the sector have organised for art exhibitions to showcase their talents and promote talent growth among the young generation on their cultures.
Tales of the Nile Art Exhibition hosted its third art expo at Kisumu’s Mama Grace Onyango Social Centre where a variety of talents were showcased by displaying various artistic works including visual arts. The first and second editions were held at Kanyakwar Cultural Centre.
Teddy Odhiambo, the founder of the Tales of the Nile art programme, said that culture had been sidelined so much by the upcoming generation and that the programme makes the young ones embrace their own as they build on their aptitudes.
“Our culture, the Luo culture, and the Nilotic people are easily forgotten by our young people and this is the aspect we wanted to bring out. Most of our performers are young people and we are familiarising them with the Luo culture incorporating traditional foods, fashion, visual arts, and artifacts,” explained Teddy.
Odhiambo added that having such events helps build interests and nurture young talents since it provided a platform for them to showcase what they had and even explore more areas.
“We brought in modeling because most of our young people from this region, Kisumu are engaged in the activity from as early as pre-primary but they don’t get to build on the talent due to lack of guidance and exposure,” he said.
He echoed that this helps the young people to learn and explore more on their talents and art making them feel encouraged and determined to do much and excel.
“I wanted to give a platform to the young people to showcase their talents and enhance culture,” he said.
Odhiambo hopes to have the Luo culture reclaimed by the youth in the art industry whom he believes will bring back the fame and glory the Luo culture once had in the ancient days.
He however noted that inadequate resources have been a major hindrance to championing the youth affairs and promoting culture hoping that well-wishers and the government would come in to help them make it a success.
“It is unfortunate that we couldn’t reach a lot of people who do the culture-related stuff due to limited funding. If we can get enough capital to facilitate the approach, I believe next time would be better,” stated Odhiambo.
“Kisumu is not really supporting art that much. I would really urge the people of Kisumu to come out and support talents, that’s the only way we’ll grow creatively,” he said.
Tales of the Nile has partnered with the Kenya Red Cross, Kisumu County Government, Shaniz Collections, and other well-wishers.
By Peter K’opiyo and Derrick Wesley