With all the artists in Kenya, Kenya apparently couldn’t get more than one to represent the country in the “art olympics” to be held in Italy.
According to the Venice Biennial website, Kenya is to be represented at the 56th Venice Biennial 2015 by 7 artists. Of which only one is a “native” Kenyan, namely, Yvonne Apiyo Braendle-Amolo. The other participants are: Qin Feng, Shi Jinsong, Armando Tanzini, Li Zhanyang, Lan Zheng Hui and Li Gang. (READ: Kenyan Receives Numerous Awards for Film on Racism).
This info has caused an uproar with Kenyans online leading to a petition, titled “Renounce Kenya’s fraudulent representation at the 56th Venice Biennial 2015 and commit to support the realisation of a national pavilion in 2017”.
According to the Sports and Culture Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario, Kenya would not send any representative to the event.
“Kenya is not formally being represented at this year’s event. This is as a result of poor planning on the side of the government and artists,” he said. The Cabinet Secretary said registration should have been done early.
However this isn’t the first time Kenya is having drama at the Biennial in Venice. In the last edition of the event in 2013, which was Kenya’s first time to hold a pavilion, its representation was equally “misrepresentative” with 2 Kenyans, 1 Italian, 1 Brazilio-Italian, and 8 Chinese. The artists present at the event were: Kivuthi Mbuno (Kenya), Chrispus Wangombe Wachira (Kenya), Fan Bo, Luo Ling, Liu Ke, Lu Peng, Li Wei, He Weiming, Chen Wenling, Feng Zhengjie (China) César Meneghetti (Italy/Brazil) and Armando Tanzini (Italy). Though Armando Tanzini, is a border issue considering he has been a longterm resident in Kenya.