Friday, August 21st 2020 – The World Youth Alliance Africa held the 7th Annual Africa Arts Forum with the theme “Art for Social Change”. The event which was broadcasted live via the WYA Facebook pages brought together 28 young people and 7 artists from across Africa.
The Arts Forum kicked off with an introduction to the World Youth Alliance by Cynthia Maingi, the WYA Africa Regional Director who then introduced the emcee for the day Wangeci Mwaniki who started off with an enthusiastic dance performance.
This was followed by 3 wonderful spoken word performances from Mufasa poet, who has established himself as a leading performance poet in Kenya. Mufasa who is renowned for intense performances serves as a judge and workshops facilitator at Poetry Slam Africa (A Slam competition that aims to recognize poets and spoken word artists discussing a range of current issues affecting Africa and the world at large) and is a co-founder of Creative Spills, a collective that pushes for the growth and spread of spoken word poetry in Kenya while virtually proposing to give the young people an opportunity to address the issues that are happening all around them.
After Mufasa’s performances, a short film by Paul Ogola titled ‘Hurt Heart’ was screened. The film is a true story that he came to know about from his friend Ashley Charlotte (star of the film), who had it rough for a long time and was now on the edge. They met one afternoon where she told him everything that had been going on with her over the years and wanted to speak to the world and anyone going through such situations through a short film. Paul, a committed and talented actor with strong acting instincts and extensive training who made his first screen appearance in the movie ‘Nairobi half-life’ in 2010, made it happen and created the film. Paul continues working alongside renowned figures in film and is currently acting in the Netflix series Sacred Games season 2 as Erico. He previously acted on another Netflix original “Sense8” season 1 & 2 and co-starred in the FIPRECI award-winning feature film “Kati Kati” which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.
This was followed by a speaking session from Kibunja Mukiri popularly known as Mc Kibunjah who spoke about how young people can use art to bring social change. Kibunja who has over 7 years of experience as an event host which has been marked with tremendous success as an emcee, event host, and hype man is also a trained lawyer and advocate in waiting and is popularly known as the only MC with an LLB.
After Kibunja’s enlightening session pictures and paintings from Ethiopia, Nigeria and Kenya were showcased as the MC narrated the ideas and motivation behind them.
A picture by Dawit Hagos from Ethiopia inspired by a NASA photo shows west and east Africa during night time. However, along the Blue Nile river, there is a clear light that goes all the way to Egypt which made him feel for his people still using candles at night while the river provides electricity for other countries. But with the current construction of the GERD (Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam) around the Blue Nile(Abay) with the neighboring countries Sudan and Egypt, he believes the usage of this huge river should not be a means of conflict and war.
This was followed by paintings from Emanuel Abiodun a young Nigerian whose interests are on creativity, art production, oratory, and reception and combines forms from his immediate culture, it’s iconography, and symbolism to create works that speak the language of his social environment.
And finally, paintings by Yvonne Siralie a female contemporary artist from Mombasa based in Nairobi Kenya. Siralie who began professional art in 2019 after quitting employment has so far exhibited her work both virtually and physically, at ISK, Nairobi Gallery, and The National Museum of Kenya. Her work is inspired by nature and powered by imaginations with the use of acrylic paints, brushes, and palette knives to create an abstract expression of her ideas. She loves abstract because of the freedom of personal expression and the effortless flow that one experiences while creating abstract, hence allowing her to express her love for color. She pushes for positivity through her work because everything starts in our minds and our thoughts create reality. The figurative pieces with a blue theme that were showcased are part of a series that she is currently working on dabbed ‘A Queen Finding Herself.’ She said the project is personal to her as it tends to connect with women on remembering their power and acknowledging the force within them. The series has pieces embracing beauty, speaking up, and even self-belief.”
The AAF ended with final remarks from the emcee and an invitation to members to apply for the WYA Certified Training Program and other upcoming events.