As the world was celebrating International Women’s Day 2023, Karakana Initiative mounted an art exhibition called ‘Malaika II’, with over 40 artworks created by a team of 12 female artists. International Women's Day is observed every 8th of March and this year, the day was running under the theme 'DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality.' That means the focus is on innovation, technological change, and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.
The show is currently set-up at Cheche Gallery at the Kenya Cultural Centre (Kenya National Theatre). It opened on 7th of March and will run till Sunday 19th March. The gallery is open every day from 10:00am to 6:00pm and all the art on display is for sale. Visiting the exhibition is free.
The first edition of ‘Malaika’ art exhibition was held in 2020 just before the pandemic, and was interrupted by the lock down after the first case of Covid-19 was reported in the country. This year, we are happy to have collaborated with the Kenya National Visual Artists Association (KNVAA), under the leadership of Mr. Naftali Momanyi. KNVAA is a countrywide umbrella organization for visual artists. Similarly, some of the lady artists exhibiting at ‘Malaika II’ come from Sanaa Art Universe, an art collective that usually exhibits twice every month at the Sarit Centre in Nairobi on weekends.
‘Malaika II’ features mostly paintings with acrylics on canvas, a few watercolours and pencil art and charcoal. We also have a number of unique pieces by Ashna Kamande, who has been working on etched rubber with an acrylic colour finish. Ashna’s pieces, although a bit different from the rest, depict wild animal themes of ‘mother and baby’ such as elephants and rhinos.
One of the most notable pieces is a huge canvas by Agnes Murugi called ‘Hologram’. Murugi is an artist who has been working under the mentorship of Patrick Mukabi, a household name in the Kenya art scene. This piece depicts an African woman with a prize hologram.
We also have a number of printed digital art on set, by artists Eileen Temining, Maria Gakuru, Cynthia Kerich and Fiona Achieng. Other exhibiting artists are Amanda Faith, Christine Karuma, Lorna Waweru, Merciana Anyango, Stella Awuor, Cess Wambui and Gloria Mwangangi. We also have a few pieces from Art a Glance’s own collection. Art a Glance is an art studio run by Nahya Mando, who curated the collection and has also curated our other art exhibitions by Karakana.
The United Nations observance of IWD 2023 recognizes and celebrates the women and girls who are championing the advancement of transformative technology and digital education. This year’s theme further explores the impact of the digital gender gap on widening economic and social inequalities. This art exhibition joins efforts on IWD 2023 to spotlight the importance of protecting the rights of women and girls in digital spaces and addressing online and ICT-facilitated gender-based violence.