[By Stephen Nderitu]
Yesterday the First Lady Margaret Kenyatta officially opened the first ever Art and Finance Conference 2019 at the Windsor Golf Hotel and Countyr Club in Nairobi. The Chief Guest was accompanied by Amb. (Dr.) Amina Mohamed, CS Sports, Culture and Arts, and the Principal Secretary Josephata Wekobe as well as Dr. Kiprop Langat, Director of Culture.
The inaugural Art and Finance Conference 2019 brings together both local and international investors, wealth managers, art collectors, Government, regulators and the international diplomatic community to discuss Art as an alternative investment and asset class.
The conference is set to change the landscape towards financial inclusivity for artists and creatives in Kenya. Whereas Kenya has been recognized as a hub for financial innovation, business start-ups and a vibrant creative economy, many artists cannot access financial services.
The vision of the conference is to build the structures, institutions and value chains that allow artists to tell their stories to the world through creativity. All this is happening at a time when the primary market for African Art has experienced some encouraging developments in both the local and international markets.
Speaking at the event, the founder and convener Roy Gitahi (Art at Work Foundation CEO), who is also the Chair of Wabunii Sacco, expressed optimism for artists, with potential partnership with banks and the Nairobi Securities Exchange, heralding a new beginning for access to credit and finance in the creative economy. On the sidelines of the event is an art exhibition made up of a collection of Afrocubism sculptures and impressionist paintings.
Some of the topics lined up for discussion include the value of art and heritage, art collection, Big Data in research for creative industry, raising of capital through the NSE, use of Art as collateral in lending among others. This is good news, marking a new beginning and perhaps and end to the financial struggles that many Kenyan artists and creatives go through as they pursue their passion and dreams.