How did you come up with this idea/what sparked the idea of Kenya in a 100 Objects?
In conversations with young Kenyans who were either born in London or came to Britain when they were young, it emerged that they were keen to explore their Kenyan culture. However, they wanted to do it in a more creative way other than just reading books and that’s how the idea of ‘Kenya’s Story in 100 Objects’ emerged.
Why in a 100 objects?
There was a British Museum project of ‘The World in 100 Objects’ and we thought this would work well focused on objects from one country. However, the British Museum project didn’t appear to highlight that some of the objects had been looted from their original country or the way some had been acquired was questionable, and this is an aspect we don’t want to ignore in our project.
What do you mean by objects?
Any physical object that has been created by Kenyans in the past and also contemporary work.
How will you select the 100 objects? What's the process and how independent is it?
We are asking Kenyans and people who are interested in Kenya to share objects with us from wherever they are found. The final 100 will be selected by this community using the following three criteria: (1) one object representative of each of the 43 Kenyan tribes; 27 objects that are shared as Kenyan in a national sense; and 30 objects that are internationally recognised as Kenyan.
How can you be sure that these 100 objects are best reflective of Kenya?
Following our three criteria for choosing the 100 objects will reflect Kenya; however, we don’t regard the hundred objects chosen to be the final and definitive word; we hope the conversations, networking relationships and resources generated will contribute to an ongoing story.
How are people in Kenya engaging with the project? How will they contribute?
We will collaborate jointly with schools, community groups and individuals in Kenya to contribute to the project and critique the final outcome.
What do you hope to achieve with this project?
We hope this will engage young Kenyans with their cultural heritage and generate more in-depth knowledge and interest in the origins, meaning and design of the objects. We would like young Kenyans in the diaspora to celebrate with each other from a more cultural and heritage-based pride and sensitivity and not simply from tribal affiliations.
Thinking of Africa as a whole, we hope people visiting a museums and seeing those African objects that are still in Western museums, they will try to redefine their narrative with insights gained from aspects of this project.
The objects and accompanying stories will be available on line for schools, community groups and anyone else interested.
We also hope other communities and especially people of African descent will use this project as a template to create and share their own stories.
How long will this run for?
We plan to have an online exhibition of the 100 Objects, which will be available for at least three years. Alongside this will be a resource hub, facilitating schools and groups to do their own projects.
Our school would like to use your template to explore another country as part of our curriculum, how can we get involved?
The 100 objects project was founded in 2015 with the purpose of engaging youth with cultural heritage through analysing key objects of any area. Contact email@example.com for your project pack.