Contemporary Vision Exhibition, Mali | Aga Khan Academies

Contemporary Vision Exhibition, Mali

20 November 2004

The National Museum of Mali is a well established museum directed by Samuel Sidibe. I was taken aback with their facilities and their professionalism. All four winners attended the opening of the exhibition.

1st prize - Achilleka KOMGUEM KAMSU (Cameroon). His work is projected as a poetic prayer against violence, abuse and hatred.

2nd prize - Miriam SYOWIA KYAMBI (Kenya). Her works have a tremendous plastic quality that reflects her sensitive awareness of genocide down through human history.

3rd Prize - B. Didier Donatien ALIHONOU (Benin). His work benefits from lively design and colour in harmony with his environment.

4th Prize - Momar SECK (Senegal) lives in Switzerland. His works express the need for unity and solidarity without which disparate elements fail to blossom.

The title of the exhibition was “Contemporary Visions” and established artists from West Africa exhibited their works within this exhibit as well. The museum is looking to collect the prize winner’s work in order to have the works as part of their private collection. I was the only East African representative and the youngest and the only female artist exhibiting work for this particular exhibition. I felt very honored as well as overwhelmed.

Thank you for all your support and well wishes before my departure as well as the warm welcomes I have received upon my return. I look forward to working with the National Museum in Mali and the artists I had met in the near future. I will be sharing my experiences in Mali and newly acquired knowledge with my students. I believe they will benefit from this first hand information and gain an understanding that a career as an artist is a viable dream.

The National Museum of Mali received funding two years ago from the European Union. They have as a result restored a fantastic space which fits into traditional Malian architecture in a modern sense and houses contemporary art. The National Museum of Kenya based in Nairobi is supposed to receive similar funding for its “face lift.” I truly hope we receive these funds and use them as well as the Malians have used their funds to run a successful internationally recognized and professional museum.

Miriam Syowia Kyambi