KenyaArts.com is a research environment based on training talented youth from across Kenya in diverse performing arts genres for a period of more than ten years under the Kenya Performing Arts Group (KPAG). The dance and theatre materials which are created during work processes, are presented to public based in Kenya, Africa and the world. This working process, where artistic development and vision towards the performing arts, is given a spotlight in Kenya.
KPAG wants to give the art form more competition, quality, professionalism and exposure. Educational aspects are part and parcel of enhancing the understanding of ‘our state of Arts’. In this case, the Performing Arts, in which it is about family and society, where arts is born for – to reaffirm where we are as human beings in our environment.
KenyaArts.com gives insight into the lives of the artists, their expectations, mentality and creative skills in their own art work. The training aspect is the major goal (investing in their future of arts is the key). Next to that the goal is to inspire and to convince the Kenyan Government to see the value of investing in e.g. practical talent development academies which give energy and can motivate young artists to develop art work as well as innovative and entrepreneurial educational arts and cultural programs sustaining the future generation Kenyan artists.
History of Kenya Performing Arts Group (KPAG); Kenya Performing Arts Group (KPAG) was founded in 2003 by Theatre Maker & Educator Odak Onyango and Dance Maker & Teacher Saskia Ottenhoff. KPAG registered with the Ministry of Gender, Sports, Culture & Social Services. Since its foundation up to date KPAG plays a major role in uplifting the performing arts scene in Kenya.
KPAG describes its role in the performing arts sector in Kenya as ‘to create and establish a sustainable environment for performing artists, by promoting and using arts and culture as a tool in empowering people in becoming world citizens with basic human needs and expression’. Through professional training of artists, workshops, exchange programmes and performances KPAG wants to reach this goal and ensure the artists’ quality of work, professionalism and competition. It strives to be institutionally imbedded in the national and international arena of professional performing arts. Young people are invited for auditions in urban as well as in rural areas and slums.
The K-PAG training is specific in Kenya by the fact that it takes place on a daily basis and is considered as a complete artistic expression, although with special attention for dance. The strength of the training programme is the combination of these daily classes with direct work experiences, and the creation of work throughout the training programme. As such the aspects of creating performing platforms, exchanges, cultural and social events, full stage productions and educational programmes in schools are integral parts of the project.
KPAG is committed to create and establish a sustainable environment for performing artists in Kenya, thus contributing to a vibrant, competitive and sustainable cultural infrastructure through a critical and innovative attitude and high-level artistic productions. KPAG encourages authentic, artistic productions and ensures accessibility for a big audience. Furthermore, KPAG contributes to the professionalisation of performing arts, which will give recognition and will strengthen the East-African performing arts-scene. The programme contributes to people’s self esteem and notions of identity by stimulating a process of revalorisation and revitalisation of local cultural practices in a contemporary perspective. Furthermore, specific attention is given to social issues, like HIV/Aids, gender awareness, human rights, etc. North-South exchange among artists is implemented by KPAG, as well as South-South exchanges, which contribute to intercultural understanding and pluriformity.
K-PAG graduates have proven to be able to reach positions varying from performing artists, teachers, managers and project leaders to initiators of own independent group foundations running their own projects.