[4th January 2012]

“From Japan to Kenya Fostering Peace from Nature”

The year 2011, the International Year of Forest will go down as a momentous year in the history of Kenya. It is the year that saw Kenya loose a leading champion and protector of the environment Prof. Wangari Mathaai. This was also the year that Kenya was again placed in the pedestal of environmental management through art by been designated by the World Culture Art as the candidate country to host the World Peace Art Exhibition. It was a first in the African continent. Choosing Kenya demonstrated the confidence and sense of responsibility the world has placed on Kenya in its role in the conservation of the environment.

The 19th Peace Exhibition was held in two segments. The first in Nagoya Japan from 30th August to 4th September 2011 saw fine Japanese art works exhibited. The Aichi Culture Museum also carried peace messages from opinion shapers including the late Prof. Wangari Mathaai and Mama Sarah Obama who are strong supporters of peace. His Excellency Ambassador Benson H. O. Ogutu who officially opened the Nagoya event, called for the urgent need to protect the environment in order to safe guard humanity from the negative impacts of climate change and thus ensure sustainable development. The Ambassador also appreciated the fact that cultural interaction is unique as it is able to reach out to people of all walks of life; young to non-elites, to broad audiences with a much reduced language barrier. Thus using art as a medium to campaign for the protection of the environment is rewarding.

16th to 19th November saw the second segment staged at the Nairobi National Museum. Over 4,000 guests visited the exhibition. The opening ceremony was graced by the Assistant Minister for National Heritage and Culture, Hon. Wilfred M. Ombui who was the chief guest; the Permanent Secretary Dr. Jacob Ole miaron, and the Japanese Ambassador to Kenya His Excellency Toshihisa Takata. Mama Sarah Obama who is the grandmother of 44th American President His Excellency Barack Obama was invited as a special guest.

To crown the event the skillful Japanese artists who travelled to Kenya for the exhibition joined students of Kabeta Beta Primary School in planting trees. The artists also held a workshop for primary school children. About 12 elementary school children participated in the workshop which was held at Nairobi National Museum. The students were instructed how to do Japanese calligraphy, pressing flowers (Oshibana) and folding “Origami”.

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