“An Incredible Art Collection”
The Nairobi Art gallery is a gazetted Kenyan monument that is housed in the formerly known Old PC’s (provincial commissioner) office building or what was popularly referred to as ‘Hatches, Matches and Dispatches’ because of the births, marriages and deaths that were recorded here. The building, a fine piece of colonial architecture, is home to the Murumbi Heritage Collections.
The Nairobi Art Gallery also serves as an exhibition for other artists and collectors to showcase or sell their art.
Why it stands out
The Nairobi Gallery stands out because there are few places that can boast of such a rich diverse collection of artworks from all over African, from pre-colonial works of contemporary artists. It shows cases private collection of an art collector who was at one time the vice president of Kenya, Joseph Murumbi.
How to get there
The gallery is located within the central business district and it is easily accessible by Uhuru highway and Kenyatta avenue as it is located at the intersection of the two roads. It is very convenient especially if you have a night stay in a hotel within the city because you will not incur any cost for transport because it is a walking distance. You can choose to walk or use public transport.
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Opening hours and charges
The gallery opens at 8.30am- 5.30pm daily. A Kenyan citizen only needs to have ksh 150 for entry while residents and non residents need ksh 600 and 1000 respectively. Night tours and guided tours are also available. The guided tours are given to a maximum of 10 pax at 1000/= for citizens and 2000/= for residents and non residents.
Where to eat
The coffee lovers are also not left out because there is a lovely café with a touch of the African theme where they can sit down and have some coffee after the wonderful experience inside the gallery.
What to do and see
The main activity at the gallery is looking at the beautiful art collections of the African culture that leaves you inspired and impressed. Every piece of art in this gallery is eye-catching and amazing. At this gallery you realize how Africans were very creative: their traditional fashion, the wood carvings, furniture and utensils all leaves you surprised how they managed to make such beautiful pieces of art.
A section of the gallery has been named the “The house of Murumbi”. This “home” has an African theme and contains various African art collected by Murumbi.
Elaborately beaded mask from the Bamileke tribe in Cameroon. The ears represent those of an elephant. It is worn by warriors who have rendered great service to the chief and also powerful members of the tribe
Joseph Murumbi was Kenya’s second vice president and also a known private art collector who collected cultural art work across Africa. Following his death in June 1990 and that of his wife in the year 2000 and without a will, his huge collection of art was destined for England. Fortunately, Alan Donovan, who helped Murumbi co-found African Heritage, what later became the largest Pan-African art gallery on the continent, and with the help of then Vice president Moody Awori managed to halt the exportation of the precious artifacts. The collection was released through a deed of gift to the people of Kenya, represented by the Kenya National Archives and the National Museums of Kenya, who have signed a deed to maintain and exhibit the collections for locals and visitors to enjoy.
Lion’s mane headdress “Alawaru” that proclaims that a Maasai has killed a lion during warrior-hood. For centuries this was a necessary ritual but is no longer practiced
The section is meant to symbolize Murumbi’s love for Africa loved Africa and so the need for preserving the culture for future generations.
Inside the House of Murumbi
For those who care for modern art and the environment, also displayed in the gallery are ecofriendly artwork like bags, mats and other accessories made from recycled material. The recycled paper beads look really cool
Apart from just “seeing and looking”, one can also come to this gallery to specifically shop for the African artifacts that are sold at relatively fair prices.
It is fun and very exciting to look at the amazing art collection from all over Africa. It will keep you wondering how people were that creative to design such art. You will have realized that this gallery was very important in conserving this traditional art that today is very rare to find. The entry fee was very fair and affordable. Rating:9/10
Guiding and interpretation rating.
I had a guide to take me through the gallery though he was friendly and welcoming I felt he lacked the adequate information of the gallery needed to guide. Rating: 4/10
The environment was clean and well maintained, the lighting system was energy friendly and I hope the same will continue. Rating: 6/10
Overall product rating: 7/10
The Nairobi gallery is a must go place. It should feature in your places to visit in Nairobi. It’s an amazing lifetime experience you should not miss. The gallery is suitable to any tourist: children, adults, disabled, youth and students. It is a guarantee that your expectations will be met.
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