The Art of Resilience by Lewa Next Gen is an Exhibition with a Purpose

When countries all over the world shut their borders due to the Coronavirus, quite a number of industries suffered immensely as a result. But maybe none was as badly affected as the tourism sector, including wildlife conservancies like Lewa.

The Lewa Wildlife Conservancy is a private, not-for-profit organisation that is home to different wildlife, both endangered and regular. Although this UNESCO World Heritage Site leans on the support of its surrounding community, it also relies heavily on tourism to keep up with its day-to-day functions and operations.

Sadly, the advent of the Coronavirus meant that whatever income it got from visitors dried up almost instantly.

The Grevy Zebra at Lewa Wildlife Conservancy
Lewa Wildlife Conservancy is home to the endangered Grevy Zebra. Image courtesy of Lewa Wildlife Conservancy

It is in the light of this that Lewa Next Gen – a branch of the conservancy dedicated to building the next generation of conservationists – has announced The Art of Resilience, an exhibition that captures the stories and faces of individuals living and working around Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in northern Kenya, as well as the tangible shift in the environment from the bustling streets of pre-pandemic Kenya to the ongoing challenges and resilience of Kenya’s communities.

The Art of Resilience will debut in New York City from September 1-11, 2021 at the High Line Nine in partnership with Montague Contemporary. It will feature works by nine contemporary Kenyan and British artists, including Anyango Mpinga, Charlie V. Rose, Dennis Muraguri, Elias Mung’ora, Joel Kioko, Migwa Nthiga, Paul Onditi, and Pie Herring, whose art will range from oil on canvas to prints, mixed media, photography, videography, textiles, and dance.

Artwork by Migwa Nthiga
The Art of Resilience will showcase works that spotlight the ongoing challenges and resilience of Kenya’s communities. Image courtesy of Migwa Nthiga via Lewa

The idea for an exhibition started after Next Gen committee member, Charlie V. Rose, and oil portraitist, Pie Herring, approached Lewa Wildlife Conservancy and Next Gen chair, Laura Day Webb with a proposal to visit the communities surrounding Lewa, document and give a platform to those directly affected by the drop in tourism due to COVID-19.

Day Webb expanded the idea to include local Kenyan artists whose works highlight the local issues Lewa advances. The project would spotlight the importance of the conservancy’s community-driven conservation model, with their sale benefitting its much-needed efforts.

Through The Art of Resilience, Lewa Next Gen aims to foster a dialogue around key local issues, including access to education and healthcare, expansion of microfinance programs for women, and sustainable livelihoods – and for a new audience to discover the merits of community-based conservation and its relationship to tourism.

To learn more about the exhibition, head over to the Lewa Next Gen Instagram page here.

Source: Lewa Next Gen

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