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Maasai Art by Maasai is on view in U.S.A


The exhibition was in the past hosted at the Cincinnati Art Museum

Read about this show from The Seattle Times

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.

The 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.

What is in the collection?

The 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 warrior’s 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).

Purpose of the Show 

The 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.

Exhibition and Interpretation


In 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.

A 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 people themselves. 

A small version of this show is available upon request

We seek interested galleries and exhibition spaces nationally that are interested in this most compelling collection of East African Maasai ceremonial wear.

The 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.

If you are interested in hosting the Maasai show at your art gallery, museum, community center or other exhibition space, please contact us at: Maasai show.

We look forward to further discussing our exciting collection, and the opportunities it can provide for our mutual communities.

 

 

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Bridal set of necklaces

Warrior's shield used for lion hunting

Ancient Mancala game. In the Maasai society this game is played by young people only with permission from the elders.