As the world celebrates the 6th International SWAN Day this year, Kenya is celebrating its 50th anniversary jubilee year and has just gone through a contentious presidential election. WomenArts stands in awe of Sophie Dowllar and the other women of SWAN Day Kenya who have organized an ambitious 2-day festival in spite of the potential for post-election violence in the coming weeks.
On Saturday, March 30, SWAN Day Kenya will start with poetry, spoken word, music and dance performances at Nairobi’s Phoenix Theatre from 9 am to 3 pm. On Sunday, March 31, visual artists will showcase and sell their art, and music performances will be held at the Kuona Trust Center for Visual Arts in Kenya from 11 am to 7 pm. Both events are free.
The featured artists will include: Achieng Abura, Amileena of Tusker Project Fame IV (a talent reality show), Shish and Tanya of the Kenyan television show Tahidi High, Tabitha Wa Thuku, Rabbo of the singing trio Tatuu, the crew from the Papa Shirandula television show, Lydiah Dola, Iddi Achieng, Veronica Wanjeri, Wahu and Masallah among others. All of the artists have been asked to present work based on the themes of national cohesion and non-violence.
Sophie Dowllar wrote to us recently, “As women artists, we want to urge everyone to maintain peace during the campaigns and after elections. We are for peaceful co-existence and integrated national cohesion amongst all Kenyans. We shall therefore sing about it and use our poems, plays, instruments, paintings, sculptures, written and spoken word, dances and any other form of art to express ourselves. We know that art is a very powerful tool that gets straight not only into the heads, but hearts of people where real change manifests itself . . . Our call is for peace, peace, peace and more peace.”
Good luck to Sophie Dowllar and everyone else at SWAN Day Kenya. Women artists around the world will be cheering for you this weekend.