Art by Maasai is on view in U.S.A
exhibition was in the past hosted at the Cincinnati
about this show from The
Maasai community is comprised of sixteen sections (known in
Maa as Iloshon). The Maasai art is dominated with beadwork.
The beadwork is slightly different from section to section.
The collection presented here is from members of the Irkaputiei
and the Irkisongo sections of southeastern Maasailand, Kenya.
show was originally hosted at the Seattle Art Museum in Seattle
Washington. However, the show has been traveling around the
country and is currently showing at the Cincinnati Art Museum.
is in the collection?
collection of artwork includes a full Maasai bridal costume,
elders traditional objects, and a warrior's outfit. The
specific art pieces includes jewelry, a shield, a warriors
spear, ceremonial headdress, ceremonial clothing made of leather,
tribal game board, among many other art pieces. These are not
the usual Maasai artworks found in curio shops or in commercial
art galleries. They are authentic pieces found only in Maasailand.
(Photo above/left; courtesy of DAI SUGANO/The Seattle Times).
of the Show
main purpose of the show is to educate the world about Maasai
culture and to bring awareness about the ongoing social change
in the Maasai society. The show is complimented with a video
presentation about an all Maasai school in Kenya, which was
built with proceeds from the show. The video also shows how
and what Museums in the western world can do to collect responsibly
and to help with development in Africa.
order to make sure that the collection is presented according
to the wishes of the Maasai community, the villagers of the
Merreushi community – where the collection originated
– appointed Kakuta Ole Maimai to oversee the exhibition
and Interpretation of the show. Kakuta Ole MaiMai tells the
captivating stories behind each of the objects in the collection.
series of photographs and descriptive labels completes the show.
Unlike the traditional way of gallery exhibition, often used
by western museums, this show is unique in the sense that it
was the Maasai who decided what should go into the collection
and how their artwork should be shown. Each artist is given
full credit for her/his talent. Maasai Art by Maasai is the
first show of its kind collected and presented by the Maasai
small version of this show is available upon request
Maasai of Merrueshi community in Kenya, who have graciously
contributed this exhibit, are currently managing a school project
for their children, and are working to bring safe water and
good hygiene to their village. Proceeds from this traveling
collection will be used to assist the community in its water
and school project.
you are interested in hosting the Maasai show at your art gallery,
museum, community center or other exhibition space, please contact
look forward to further discussing our exciting collection,
and the opportunities it can provide for our mutual communities.