Kenya: International Inventories Programme – artworks between worlds
Dennis Opudo, Head of the Anthropological Department of the Nairobi National Museum, in the Museum's Ethnographic Collection | Photo (detail): Gioia Forster © picture alliance
The “International Inventories Programme” (IIP) is an international research, database and exhibition project that focuses on Kenyan artefacts that have been held in museums and collections outside the country since colonial times.
This global inventory aims to research the number of Kenyan artefacts and the history of their acquisition, and make this information transparent.
In addition to the scientific recording of the artefacts, it is also a concern of how Kenyan cultural assets that are in the possession of cultural institutions in Europe and the USA can be made accessible in Kenya. Artists, museum professionals and researchers from the participating countries will collaborate to examine the “translocation” of significant objects from Kenya to Europe. The exhibition will explore which stories the objects tell and what meaning they have for the societies in Kenya and Europe.
The results of these artistic explorations – the newly produced artworks as well as the academic research – were exhibited at the Kenyan National Museum, the Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum in Cologne and the Weltkulturen Museum in Frankfurt am Main in 2021. At the same time, a first publication appeared in the form of a magazine contextualizing the project from various perspectives. A second publication mapping the rapid development of the debates in the last two years of the project and emphasizing Kenyan perspectives will appear in the course of this year.
The database, which was created as part of the project and contains over 30,000 objects, is continuously being made accessible online:
Current events are announced on the project‘s website:
IIP News and Events
The exhibition project “Invisible Inventories” is sponsored by the German Federal Cultural Foundation.
Colonial heritage, restitution, dialogue, exhibition
Project in the Goethe-Institut’s global cultural magazine “Zeitgeister”
Project page International Inventories Programme
National Museum of Kenya
Museum of World Cultures, Frankfurt/Main
SHIFT Collective, France/Germany
The Nest Collective, Nairobi
German Federal Cultural Foundation