The opening performance by a traditional Luo dancer PHOTO © Amnesty International Kenya
The Boma Night outreach festival was held on Saturday, 24th March 2017 at the American Corner Grounds in the Kisumu National Library. The event was in partnership with The Story Makers Society - a professional theatre group committed to creating and producing artistically excellent and culturally diverse theatre for all audiences. The festival was attended by over 200 people who included police officers and representatives from Kisumu based civil society organizations. The audience was treated to an interactive evening of fireside storytelling fused with acoustic music, poetry and dance on the theme “Stop ExtraJudicial Killings”. This festival was motivated by the recent cases of police brutality and extra judicialkillings of young people around Manyatta and Nyalenda slams in Kisumu and its main objective was to use art to bridge the gap between the public and the police.
Story Maker's Society's George Chunga gives the welcoming remarks PHOTO © Amnesty International Kenya
An art exhibition dubbed “Behind the Brush Strokes” ran throughout the festival with an aim of creating awareness on enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings in Kenya. The exhibition featured painting and sculptures from 11 Kenyan artists based at the Karen Village Art and Cultural Centre. The artists created the works of art after watching and reflecting on documentaries of victims of extrajudicial executions and enforced disappearances from different parts of the country. Africa Uncensored, an independent media house, documented how the artists’ attitudes evolved during this process. You can watch the documentary here.
Some of the art pieces featured at the exhibition PHOTO © Amnesty International Kenya
The night culminated in a panel discussion featuring a police officer, a representative from Angaza Jamii – a Kisumu based civil society organization working on human rights and security sector reforms – and a representative from Amnesty International Kenya. The panelists engaged the audience on strategies on how to improve police-public relations in various informal settlements in Kisumu.
The Question and Answer session during the panel discussion PHOTO © Amnesty International Kenya
BOMA Night and the “Behind the Brush Strokes” Art Exhibition used visual and performing arts as tools for community mobilization for the advancement of human rights and positive social change.