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What are Kenyan objects doing in western museums?



In early December 2021, Senior Fellow Eric Otieno led two highlight tours in the Weltkulturen Museum in Frankfurt, Germany. The tours focussed on the “Invisible Inventories” exhibition organized by the Nest and Shift Collectives, which has previously been shown at Nairobi’s National Museum of Kenya and Cologne’s Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum.

In his tours, Eric highlighted the significance of the necessarily nuanced International Inventories Programme (IIP) towards understanding the ongoing social, political and economic upheaval that restitution represents, and the consequences that ought to follow revelations of projects like IIP. The IIP is an international research and database project for investigating objects pertaining to the cultural heritage of Kenya that are held in cultural institutions across the globe.

Eric further explored the conditions under which Kenyan cultural assets held by institutions in the global north could be made accessible to contemporary Kenyan society

Find out more on the “Invisible Inventories” series, see this Weltkulturen Museum events page.