The Indigenous International: Green Architecture Project in Kenya will present the opportunity for young Kenyan women artists and architects to connect with Indigenous American women artists and architects living in the United States through a nine-month cultural virtual exchange that will result in three collaborative online exhibitions.This exploration will help the young women to conceptualize how their cultures intersect within the framework of a number of issues pertaining to the access to affordable housing, urban planning, environmental policy, and traditional architectural representation.
Traditional forms of Indigenous or African architecture have often been misrepresented in mainstream media and academia. The majority of Indigenous peoples reside in rural areas, building and living in structures constructed with materials that have been obtained locally. These structures, often created through the use of architectural techniques, have been utilized for generations. Unfortunately, a myth exists that Indigenous vernacular architecture is substandard, temporary, or for the poor. Indigenous communities from the Americas and Africa are continuously striving for environmental stability through architectural design. However, these communities are often met with natural and governmental challenges that have threatened the traditional value of vernacular and cultural practices of various architectural styles.
When thinking broadly of architecture, the masterpieces of the past inevitably come to mind; buildings constructed to withstand the passage of time, that have found an ally in age, cementing themselves in the history of humanity. According to aesthetic and practical architectural standards of urban society, traditional housing structures of Indigenous American nations utilize similar construction techniques of Kenyans when analyzing wigwam or Pueblo-style of architectural manifestation alongside the Maasai huts— called manyattas— that were traditionally built by women.
All artists involved in the project should be between the ages of 18-35. Kenyan artist Fellows should reside in the the country full-time and all U.S. artist subcontractors should be of Native American or African American descent. As a result of artist exchanges, three online exhibitions will be displayed on the Soul of Nations Foundation and Soul Center for the Arts website.
The first exhibition will include works created by the lead local Kenyan artist, the second exhibition will include individual and collaborative works created by the U.S. artists, and the third exhibition will include one collaborative work created by both the U.S. and Kenya artist cohort. Each exhibition’s virtual opening will be facilitated through an online artist forum. Work will include proposals; elements of work that exemplify essential qualities of architecture which include the modulation, richness, and materiality of surface; photographs, works on canvas, and collaborative sculpture; and the orchestration and sequencing of movement, revealing the embodied power and beauty of contemporary vernacular architecture that is sourced from traditional techniques of Indigenous American and Kenyan culture
The overarching objectives of the Indigenous International: Green Architecture Project include (1) empowering marginalized youth and communities through creative and artistic expression, (2) further the understanding of Indigenous heritage from the United States and Kenya, (3) engaging in dialogue to gain a clearer understanding on what freedom and environmental stability looks like while examining current setbacks, (4) utilizing culture as a vehicle to expand discourse (5) creating and strengthening an innovative and progressive network among participants and community members, (6) examining historic challenges through a contemporary frame, and (7) encouraging personal growth and social awareness on a local, national, and global scale. Project themes: environmental stability and indigenous futurism
Soul of Nations Foundation, Inc.
Phone: +1 917.415.8633
© 2020 Soul of Nations Inc.