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Publications

Via Contact zones

The Contact Zone series is a book publication project initiated by the Goethe-Institut Kenya to document the fast-growing and lively art scene in Kenya. Before the project started in 2012, information from the local art scene was scattered and mostly only documented in individual newspaper articles. As part of the book series, the Goethe-Institut Kenya has published 27 books that document the art practice of various local artists, art collectives, socially relevant topics as well as the history of the country and the growth of the Kenyan art scene.

Contact Zones NRB 19: Ink & Pixels. The Wild and Wondrous Tale of Kenyan Comics

The exhibition Ink & Pixels: The Wild and Wondrous Tale of Kenyan Comics was initiated by the Goethe-Institut Kenya and curated by Chief Nyamweya and Msanii Kimani wa Wanjiru. It was shown for the first time in 2015 at the Goethe-Institut Kenya and toured Germany in 2016. The exhibition attempted to provide an overview of the comic strip artist scene in Kenya, whose opportunities to present their work to a wider audience are rare. It was the first exhibition of its kind for the Kenyan comic scene.


The publication contains several essays on the Kenyan comic scene by Kimani wa Wanjiru and is an attempt to collect some of the outstanding works of Kenyan comic artists. It pays tribute to the pioneers and celebrates the next generation of young artists in the Kenyan comic world.


Language: English
Pages: 192
Year of publication: 2017
Editor: Goethe-Institut Kenya and Native Intelligence.

Contact Zones NRB 18: Adipo Sidang ’- Parliament of Owls

Parliament of Owls is a collection of poems by Adipo Sidang ', one of the most promising poets of a new, young generation of authors in Kenya. Shrewdly, with a critical eye on social and political issues in his country, Sidang's book marks an important chapter in the history of Kenya.
                      
Language: English
Pages: 286
Year of publication: 2016
Editor: Goethe-Institut Kenya and Native Intelligence

Contact Zones NRB 17: Just A Book

Published by the eclectic Kenyan collective Just a band this book offers readers unprecedented access to the band's processes, projects, and practices. Readers get a glimpse into the creative process behind the iconic Ha-he music video, from the origins of the Makmende-Characters down to the various cultural references that the group incorporated to create a hilariously entertaining music video for the Kenyan youth to identify with.
 
As the collective's first publication, the book also includes a nice surprise for everyone Just a band Enthusiasts: A CD with previously unreleased recordings.
 
Language: English
Pages: 144
Year of publication: 2016
Editor: Goethe-Institut Kenya and Native Intelligence.
 

Contact Zones NRB 16: Maasai Mbili

Volume 16 of the seriesContact Zones NRB is the works of the artist collectiveMaasai Mbili(M2) dedicated. The collective - founded around the year 2000 by Otieno Kota and Otieno Gomba - currently consists of five permanent members, many long-term partners, a large number of partners and countless friends.

The collective's artistic activity is rooted in street art and sign painting, but can also express itself in other forms, from video and performance to music and dance. While a certain skill and dexterity represents the core of the collective in popular painting, there is also an affection for a conceptually refined approach and a sociopolitical perspective.

From the seriesDaily Kibera from Kevo Stero to theVote for Mai Self Paintings by Otieno Gomba and the campaign posters provided by the late Ashif and the fictional political rapperMillion bob von Tola, the collective's broad spectrum of works is linked by contemporary social and political issues as well as a popular, ironic and intelligent style of language. The publication contains essays by Thom Ogonga, Gor Soudan, Alex Nikolic, Mbuthia Maina, Hans Bernhard and an interview with Sam Hopkins.

Language: English, Sheng
Pages: 152
Year of publication: 2015
Editor: Goethe-Institut Kenya and Native Intelligence

Contact Zones NRB 15: Joyce Nyairo - Kenya @ 50. Trends, Identities and the Politics of Belonging

Kenya @ 50 is a book that deals with the interfaces between culture, identity and politics in the 50 years of Kenya's independence. It tries to answer how the state defines individuality and what possibilities individuals have to shape their sense of belonging. Joyce Nyairo studies an enormous amount of cultural products to confirm her theories - criminal cases, soap operas, songs, death notices, Matatu slogans, NGOlingo, SMS, emails, tweets and lengthy, autobiographical narratives, written by Kenyans, about the people, that they believe to be. Some of their arguments about the structure of Kenya in 2010 are undoubtedly radical. However, through her observations of the everyday paths and places through which and where Kenyans define their identity, the reader is encouraged to reflect on the complex relationship between political constitution and culture. Joyce Nyairo's work reflects the profound concerns of Kenya and the people who live here, but at the same time does not shy away from humorously illuminating the most extreme of the prevailing madnesses and mistakes. ”-Willy Mutunga, President of the Supreme Court, Kenya
 
Language: English
Pages: 344
Year of publication: 2015
Editor: Goethe-Institut Kenya and Native Intelligence

Contact Zones NRB 14: Fresh Paint Volume 2 - Telling Our Stories into the 21st Century. A collection of short stories and poems by 21 women writers

AtFresh Paint Volume 2 is the follow-up volume to the first anthology of literary portraits by Kenyan women authors, which was published in 2011 under the same title.Fresh Paint Volume 2 is a collection of short stories and poems by 21 young women writers, most of whom have regularly attended the Goethe Institute's literary forum over the past six years. The texts in the book went through a process in which they were presented several times in the sessions of the literature forum and were criticized by the other participants. The authors revised their texts with the help of this constructive criticism. Only then were the texts finally presented to the volume's editorial team and considered for publication. The quality of the entire work shows how valuable this process of mutual criticism among writers is. The literature forum takes place every last Saturday of the month at the Goethe-Institut and is open to women and men.
 
Language: English
Pages: 66
Year of publication: 2015
Editor: Goethe-Institut Kenya and Native Intelligence

Contact Zones NRB 13: Miriam Syowia Kyambi

Issue 13 presents the work of the multimedia artist Miriam Syowia Kyambi of Kenyan-German origin, who lives and works in Nairobi / Kenya. Kyambi has created a substantial body of work that combines performance with sculpture, installation, painting, photography and video. The book documents her work from 2007 to 2014, which consists of solo, collaboration and curatorial works.
Much of Kyambi's work analyzes and inquires about views of perception and memory. She examines how contemporary human experience is influenced by constructed history, past and present violence, colonialism, family, and sexuality. The merging of performance and installation into one unit often results in a staging that involves the viewer in a dynamic process. Kyambi's own presence plays a critical role in this process. She uses performance to either start something or to initiate change, using the body as a trigger. The resulting energy is extraordinary and cannot be found in objects, which is why it leaves a powerful visual impression.
The accompanying texts include an essay by the founder of the Peltz Gallery at the University of London Annie E. Coombes and an interview by the strategic planner Nabila Alibhai. All texts are written in English.

Language: English
Pages: 164
Year of publication: 2014
Editor: Goethe-Institut Kenya and Native Intelligence

Contact Zones NRB 12: Nicola Lauré al-Samarai - Creating Spaces. Non-formal artistic education / training in Africa between cultural policies and cultural funding

The field of non-formal education and professionalization of artists in Africa leads a shadowy existence. Although it is located at the important interface between education / art / culture, the corresponding approaches and projects often fall outside the usual funding framework. Despite everything, African actors have long been in the process of independently contouring and shaping this inter-spatial field through their ideas, concepts and practices. What does your work look like in concrete terms? What framework is it subject to? What are the effects of current cultural and funding policies? These questions will be investigated using the examples of five actors in South Africa, Senegal, the DR Congo and Ethiopia.

Languages: English, French, German
Pages: 302
Year of publication: 2014
Publisher: Goethe-Institut Kenya and Native Intelligence, in cooperation with the Goethe-Institut South Africa and in partnership with the Institute for Art Education (IAE) of the Zurich University of the Arts

Contact Zones NRB 11: Naomi L. Shitemi & Eunice K. Kamaara - Wanjiku. A Kenyan Sociopolitical Discourse

It all started with Moi asking, “What does Wanjiku know about how a constitution is formed?” To answer Moi's question, Wanjiku symbolically possesses all of the great qualities of the average Kenyan.Made famous through drawings by the brilliant cartoonist Gado, Wanjiku is considered a humorist, philosopher, ideologist, politician, patriotic feminist, theologian, historian and writer. Wanjiku takes great pleasure in making fun of the lack of vision of the Kenyan elite and the opportunistic middle class. Wanjiku is multicultural, multiregional, multi-gendered, generational, multi-religious and multi-ethnic. Wanjiku continually calls for nationality and unity within Kenya for diversity. Wanjiku is the political leader Kenya longs for. The spark of hope that a just Kenya and a just world are still possible.
- Willy Mutunga, President of the Supreme Court of Kenya

The essays in this book refer to Wanjiku's role in relation to various national issues such as constitution formation, the church and the abortion debate, its portrayal through popular media in Kenya, Mungiki and HIV / AIDS. In order to understand to what extent Wanjiku places himself within national decisions, this study is developing into a very important addition to the literature on democracy and governance in Kenya.

Language: English
Pages: 334
Year of publication: 2014
Publisher: Goethe-Institut Kenya and Native Intelligence, in cooperation with the Ford Foundation

Contact Zones NRB 10: Billy Kahora, Parselelo Kantai, Andia Kisia, Tony Mochama, Kevin Mwachiro, Valentine Njoroge - Six and the City. 6 short plays on Nairobi

Nairobi is a dynamic, eccentric, extreme and incredible city. The theater project Six and the City is dedicated to contemporary Nairobi. Six authors from Nairobi with very different backgrounds each portray their city in a play. The pieces were specially written for this project and they get to the heart of what it means to live in Nairobi in the new millennium. Kenyan men and women facing vital decisions and dating problems, politicians who cannot sing the national anthem, sugar daddies and university students, NGO workers, prostitutes, thieves, freaks and a vibrator are just some of the protagonists in the six Pieces. The plays premiered at Pawa254, in front of the Nairobi skyline.

Language: English
Pages: 122
Year of publication: 2013
Publisher: Goethe-Institut Kenya and Native Intelligence, in cooperation with the Hope Theater Nairobi

Contact Zones NRB ROGUE 09: Tony Mochama - Nairobi. A Night Guide Through The City-In-The-Sun

Nairobi is fascinating. A dynamic, eccentric and extreme city made up of different and contradicting worlds.
But Nairobi is also a deceptive city that is difficult to understand and fully penetrate.
What better guide could there be than Tony Mochama, the notorious and popular chronicler of Nairobi's urban life?
Haunted by its doppelganger, the Night runner - an unarmed, insane and mythical being who runs from house to house in Kenya's popular urban imagination and casts a spell over them - Mochama takes you on the way through Nairobi. It is a declaration of love to the “city in the sun” after the sun has set.

Tony Mochama is a writer and traveler who lives and works in Nairobi. Writes under the pseudonym "Smitta Smitten"Mochama for The Standard newspaper and is one of Kenya's most widely read columnists.
With his notoriously anarchic way of mixing different languages ​​with one another, he documented and commented on contemporary urban culture and city life in Nairobi over the years.

Language: English
Pages: 142
Year of publication: 2013
Editor: Goethe-Institut Kenya and Native Intelligence

Contact Zones NRB 08: Kevin Mwachiro - Invisible

is a Kenyan story that grows out of many narratives. Although sexual predisposition and gender identities are very controversial issues in Kenya, the gay scene has recently tried to make itself recognizable. Kenyan activists vigorously fight against discrimination by and for the dignified recognition of lesbians, gays, transsexuals and intersex people. As a journalist and activist, Kevin Mwachiro has made it his business to collect the stories of his people. From young to old, from city dwellers to rural dwellers, Mwachiro has written down the experiences of men and women who have chosen, despite the many difficulties, to remain themselves.Invisible is an emulation of their respective experiences.

Language: English
Pages: 114
Year of publication: 2013
Publisher: Goethe-Institut Kenya and Native Intelligence, in cooperation with the Heinrich Böll Foundation and the Gay Kenya Trust, with the support of the Dutch and German embassies

Contact Zones NRB 07: Mbũgua wa Mũngai - Nairobi’s Matatu Men. Portrait of a Subculture.

Nairobi's Matatu Men. Portrait of a Subculture marks the beginning of our series of texts, which pays due attention to the academic work of East Africa. Because of the commercial nature of the local publishing industry and a lack of relevant institutions, most recognized Kenyan intellectuals have not yet published a book, not even the most important work of their careers: their dissertation. The consequences are devastating because they cannot participate in the global, intellectual discourse.

Mbugua Wa Mungai tells the story of a subculture that has become Nairobi's everyday icon since the 1950s: Nairobi's private minibuses that provide public transport. He uses this culture as a focal point for a wider discussion about Nairobi and Kenyan society. The author's previous work has inspired many scholars to examine various aspects of popular culture in other African cities. This book, his main academic work and his major contribution to the cultural studies of Africa open up new ways for us to understand pop culture and city life.

Language: English
Pages: 254
Year of publication: 2013
Publisher: Goethe-Institut Kenya and Native Intelligence, in cooperation with Twaweza Communications

Contact Zones NRB 06: Ananias Léki Dago - mabati

Volume 6 of the Contact Zones NRB series presents the work of the photographer Ananias Léki Dago. Born in Abidjan / Ivory Coast, he is one of the most important photographers of contemporary African art. A fundamental source of his work is travel: he has already visited the Caribbean, the Middle East and large parts of Europe and Africa. This book is the result of a residency at the Goethe-Institut in Nairobi in 2011.
Ananias Léki Dago decided to work with mabati, Kiswahili for the lightweight construction material made of corrugated iron that is so ubiquitous in Nairobi. The series of black and white photographs is a portrait of the cityscape of Nairobi and its different worlds. As Simon Njami points out, this is “one of Léki Dago's secrets. He does not rush head-on towards his subjects, but is more interested in the details, as if he were creating a puzzle that we should put together. He works through subtle nuances, through fragments of a larger whole. "
The additional essays by curator and writer Simon Njami and by writer and Kwani? Editor Billy Kahora comment on Ananias Léki Dago's portrait of Nairobi.

Language: English
Pages: 104
Year of publication: 2013
Editor: Goethe-Institut Kenya and Native Intelligence

Contact Zones NRB 05: Mwangalio Tofauti

Nine photographers from Kenya:
Jacob Barua, Jim Chuchu, Sam Hopkins, Antony Kaminju, Miriam Syowia Kyambi, Barbara Minishi (with Cyrus Kabiru), James Muriuki, Boniface Mwangi, Wambui Mwangi

Volume 5 introduces a group of Kenyan photographers who move with their medium between fine art and socially critical documentary photography. Traditionally, the arts in Kenya have been dominated by painting and sculpture. Photography has primarily focused on photojournalism, fashion, advertising and the ubiquitous publicity of NGOs / aid / development organizations which has had a major impact on image politics and visual discourse in Kenya.
The message was usually the focus of exhibitions and projects. Regardless, however, photographers have always pursued their own goals, ideas and projects, albeit on a more hidden, informal and less visible level. This book is an attempt to bring together the work of photographers who work outside of the discourse currently dominating photography in Kenya. It is an inventory of the independent photography scene in Nairobi at the beginning of the new millennium.
Although the exhibited works are as different in form and content as the photographers themselves, a certain family resemblance was sought. What all these projects have in common is a strong link between content, awareness of formal aspects and reflection on the gaze and the medium of photography. Hence the title Mwangalio Tofauti, which means something like “another way of looking at things”.
The literary and cultural critic Keguro Macharia introduces the works in his essay and reveals their layers of meaning, but at the same time he shows possible interactions, connections and mutual influences that arise through the togetherness in the exhibition and in the book. The publication of a second volume with the work of other Kenyan photographers is planned for 2014.
This book was created in collaboration with the National Museum of Kenya. It is based on an exhibition in the Nairobi Gallery curated by the Goethe-Institut Kenya in 2010. The texts are in English.

Language: English
Pages: 260
Year of publication: 2012
Publisher: Goethe-Institut Kenya, Native Intelligence and National Museum Kenya

Contact Zones NRB 02, 03, 04: Sam Hopkins, Peterson Kamwathi, Ato Malinda

Contact Zones NRB is a recognition of the developments that have shaped the global art world and intellectual discourse over the past decade.Originating from the specific perspective of Nairobi, the series is primarily dedicated to the protagonists of the East African artist, activist and intellectual scene. The spectrum ranges from art projects and cultural practice, to knowledge production and political interventions, using the book as a medium.Contact Zones NRBpublishes only material that has not yet been published by other publishers. The three latest volumes show the work of Sam Hopkins, Peterson Kamwathi and Ato Malinda.

Language: English
Pages: 128, 124, 128
Year of publication: 2012
Editor: Goethe-Institut Kenya and Native Intelligence

Contact Zones NRB 01: Fresh Paint

This anthology of poems and short stories is the culmination of a joint literary project by Amka - Space for Women's Creativity - and the Goethe-Institut Nairobi. It is the first collection of writings presented by the young authors and during more than 30 literary Forums were discussed, which take place on the last Saturday of the month.

Language: English
Pages: 112
Year of publication: 2011
Publisher: Goethe-Institut Kenya

In preparation:

  • Joyce Nyairo
  • Tom Odhiambo
  • Jacob Barua
  • James Muriuki

(Re) Membering Kenya Vol. 3: Governance, Citizenship and Economics

(Re) Membering Kenya Volume 3 attempts to inquire into the interaction between economics and other issues such as gender, education, environment and health by recognizing that how and where people earn money often determine their relationship with others in the same or another production space . What Kenyans have to do differently in the economic field is the overarching question that this issue deals with.

Language: English
Pages: 248
Year of publication: 2014
Publisher: Twaweza Communications, with the Ford Foundation and the Goethe Institute Kenya

(Re) Membering Kenya Vol. 2: Interrogating Marginalization and Governance

The second edition takes note of the fact that the problems affecting Kenya as a nation go well beyond the culture and identity issues addressed in the first edition. Therefore, it focuses mainly on questions of economy, governance and power.
The chapters point out that Kenyans need to find new organizational spaces and principles on which a “new” Kenya can move forward. Likewise, debating those meanings of social justice and reconciliation against the background of potential conflicts should be part of this project. In the end, (Re) Membering Kenya calls for the reconstruction of the “path to conflict” in order to find the right balance between the right to remember and the duty to forget.

Language: English
Pages: 231
Year of publication: 2013
Publisher: Twaweza Communications, with the Ford Foundation and the Goethe Institute Kenya

Ingrid Mwangi Robert Hutter - Intruders

Mwangi Hutter's work, created in an intercultural context, has opened up new horizons for both cultures. They present impulses that stimulate the viewer to think about questions about identity in multicultural societies - a topic that is topical in both Berlin and Nairobi. With its cultural work, both the Goethe-Institut and the German Embassy in Nairobi endeavor to bring Kenyans and Germans closer to one another in order to discover similarities and to overcome the differences between the two cultures. To this end, Mwangi Hutter made an interesting contribution.

Language: English, German
Pages: 112
Year of publication: 2013
Publisher: Goethe-Institut Kenya, German Embassy Nairobi

Grassroots upgraded Reflections on Nairobi Eastlands

For the projectGrassroots upgraded Twenty members of the Slum-TV collective, who so far have mainly worked with video, chose the LOMO camera as a medium of self-representation.Grassroots upgraded, which emerged from the cooperation between Africalia and the Goethe-Institut Kenya, is not a development cooperation project, but rather takes an ironic perspective on it; a position reflected in the title of the book as well as in the politically incorrect name of the collective. The approach is conceptual and political, the choice of medium is aesthetically motivated. The LOMO camera is used as an anarchic medium that works with chance, brings imperfection into play and often uses an aesthetic of blurring. With these images, Slum-TV leaves behind the stereotypes that have shaped our perception of Africa.

Language: German, English, French, Dutch
Pages: 152
Year of publication: 2012
Publisher: Goethe-Institut Kenia, Africalia and Stichting Kunstboek

Jahazi: Culture - Arts - Performance KnowledgeCultureMemory

During a memorial service, have Twaweza Communications, theFord Foundation and the Goethe-Institut Kenya honored the great life works of the Kenyan professor Atieno Odhiambo and the poet / artist Bantu Mwaura, who both died in 2009.

The fourth edition of the magazineJahazi presents various essays and poems about these remarkable personalities.

Language: English
Pages: 80
Year of publication: 2011
Publisher: Twaweza Communications Nairobi

24Nairobi - An Exploration of a City by Photographers and Writers

This catalog shows a selection of photos from the 24Nairobi project. 24Nairobi is one of the most important photo projects ever realized in Kenya. 13 photographers documented the very different and fascinating worlds of Nairobi over a 24-hour day and night cycle.

Language: English
Pages: 193
Year of publication: 2011
Publisher: Kwani Trust

Learning from Nairobi Mobility - Cultural Library

Cultural Library represents a series of projects that investigate habits and rituals and the use of products and spaces associated with them. The participants in the project outlined the relevant problems and opportunities related to mobility at both the micro and macro level. The main aim of this project was not to develop finished product solutions, but to show the aspects of transformation and interaction: How can the knowledge gained be revised in order to make it useful? The results and the way in which they are presented in this book show once again the problem-solving potential that design has due to its interdisciplinary approach.

Language: English
Pages: 271
Year of publication: 2010
Publisher: KISDedition Cologne, Goethe-Institut Kenya and University of Nairobi

Kenya Stories

The lavishly designed book is the result of a two-year project to promote reading that the Goethe-Institut Kenya has carried out with the Book Development CouncilKenya has performed. In this context, a children's book in English and Swahili with the most beautiful children's stories was produced, written and designed - by the children themselves.

Language: Swahili / English, insert with German translation
Pages: 32
Year of publication: 2008
Publisher: Goethe-Institut Kenya, the National Book Development Council of Kenya and Buchkinder Leipzig eV.

Picking up the pieces. Cartoons on the Post-Election Violence in Kenya 2007/2008

Catalog for the cartoon exhibition at the Goethe-Institut Nairobi. This gave a critical, funny and bitter look at the crisis after the 2007/2008 elections.

Language: English
Pages: 59
Year of publication: 2010
Publisher: Mvule Africa Publishers, with the Goethe-Institut Kenya, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, KATUNI

Andrew Tshabangu - Johannesburg Transitions

Catalog for the solo exhibition of the South African photographer Andrew Tshabangu, exhibited at the Goethe-Institut Kenya in 2009 and other locations in Europe and South Africa. With an essay by Simon Njami.

Language: English
Pages: 122
Year of publication: 2008
Editors: Tobias Wendl, Ralf Seippel
Project partners: Goethe-Institut Kenya, PAN Kunstforum Niederrhein, Seippel Gallery, KunstRaum Sylt Quelle, Gallery Momo

António Ole - Hidden Pages

Catalog for the solo exhibition of the Angolan artist António Ole at the Iwalewa-Haus (University of Bayreuth) and at the Goethe-Institut Kenya 2009.
With essays by José Eduardo Aqualusa, Nadine Siegert and Margrit Prussat.

Language: German / English
Pages: 128
Year of publication: 2009
Editors: Ulf Vierke, Johannes Hossfeld

Contemporary Art in Kenya

The catalog with CD documents the competition and the exhibition that the Goethe-Institut Kenya and theAlliance Française de Nairobi2006 with the support of the German and French embassies and in cooperation with theDepartment of Culture and Kuona Trusthave organized.

Language: English
Pages: 28
Year of publication: 2007
Publisher: Goethe-Institut Kenya and Alliance Française

(Re) Membering Kenya Vol. 1

Volume I includes the first 8 of the 25 conferences that are part of the lecture series (Re) membering Kenya took place.

Language: English
Pages: 259
Year of publication: 2010
Publisher: Twaweza Communications, with the Ford Foundation and the Goethe Institute Kenya

Conflict Resolution The Role of Information and Knowledge Management - The Kenyan Experience

Papers from the groundbreaking conference on the role of libraries in conflict resolution, organized in cooperation with theKenya Library Association (KLA) in June 2008.

Language: English
Pages: 168
Year of publication: 2008
Publisher: Goethe-Institut Kenya and Kenya Library Association