Contact Zones NRB

a book series of the Goethe-Institut Kenya and Native Intelligence

The Kenyan publishing industry largely focuses on school textbooks and NGO-sponsored publications. Two sectors are completely left out: Art catalogues and intellectual perspectives. The local publishers being market economy driven and purely profit oriented have little interest for them. For this reason, the best intellectual input from Kenya has remained unpublished, and even the most notable Kenyan artists have no publications to show. Contributions from East Africa are missing in the increasingly globalised intellectual discourse and art scene. Contributions from East Africa are missing in the increasingly globalised intellectual discourse and art scene. There is a shortage of ‘contact zones’: Zones, in which both, global and local audiences, would come into contact with significant positions from East Africa.

The book series Contact Zones NRB pays tribute to the developments that have shaped the art scene globally and intellectual discourse over the last decade. Emerging from the specific perspective of Nairobi, the series is largely dedicated to the protagonists of the East African artistic, activist and intellectual scenes. The spectrum ranges from art projects and cultural practice to knowledge production and political interventions. Contact Zones NRB publishes material that is not taken up by other local and international publishers.

Published books:

Contact Zones NRB 07: Nairobi Matatu Men by Mbugua Wa Mungai, portrays the subculture of matatu in Nairobi: The collective taxis as a form of Gesamtkunstwerk (universal artwork) with a disco, screens, smoke generators and political statements on the vehicle.

Contact Zones NRB 06: Ananias Léki Dago, presents the works of Ivorian photographer Ananias Léki Dago who portrays Nairobi on the basis of a study about the building material made of corrugated iron sheets.

Contact Zones NRB 05: Mwangalio Tofauti- Nine Photographers from Kenya, is a stocktaking of the independent photography scene in Nairobi at the beginning of a new century with an essay of the Kenyan literary specialist Keguro Macharia.

Contact Zones NRB 04: Ato Malinda, dedicated to the performance artist Ato Malinda whose interventions take up the topics gender, memory and power. The essays in the book were written by curator Simon Njami, the director of the Doual’Art Didier Schaub, the art historian Nancy Hoffmann and the artist and theoretician Nathalie Mba Bikoro.

Contact Zones NRB 03: Peterson Kamwathi, documents the drawings of Peterson Kamwathi, one of the most radical and in an aesthetical perspective most interesting artists in East Africa. It includes an essay by the writer David Kaiza and an interview with the Kenyan literature scholar Tom Odhiambo.

Contact Zones NRB 02: Sam Hopkins, presents the work of Sam Hopkins in all its spectrum: from conceptual art to participatory approaches that are dedicated to the contrary world of Nairobi.

Contact Zones NRB 01: Fresh Paint – Literary Vignettes by Kenyan Women, an anthology of poems and short stories.

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