The objects displayed were selected from different ethnic groups in Kenya which also form part of the regions where the traveling exhibition will travel. Hence, it will make a powerful connection through remembrance and a sense of belonging to the home culture. This provocative exhibition seeks to create a forum to publicly deconstruct norms and stereotypes that prevent equal participation in political and public life on the grounds of gender and sexuality. The 2bonge exhibition unearths customs within the indigenous world that honour and respect women and recognize their roles as negotiators and decision makers.
There are many examples such as women’s walking staffs made from particular sacred female trees. Among the Akamba they use mutuva tree. The Akamba woman’s peace staff is Ndata ya Kiveti (Kimbu), The Pokot use Likip which is a peace staff also employed as a walking stick. These symbolic staffs are placed in between heated arguments or between fighting men for return to calmness. Other examples of material culture objects used by women to prevent conflicts are the pregnancy belt called Leketyo that is worn by Pokot women, the Mutilima belt worn by the Akamba women as they breastfeed and the Olkila of the Maasai which is a leather skirt.
These objects give a correct exposure to indigenous knowledge, oral traditions and material culture related to gender and sexuality in the exhibition and influence the public, activists, and artists to explore heritage within their own communities and nationally. The display of these items and art inspired by women’s peace heritage traditions will be the key to spark dialogue and support the exhibition audience to remember traditions of women’s roles as leaders during conflicts. In all, the audience will learn about the peace material culture objects that carry the power of women.
2bonge Traveling Exhibition Schedule
- Feb. 1 – 28 – Nairobi National Museum
- Mar. 6 – Mar. 27 – Isukha Mulindi Peace Museum in Khayega, Kakamega
- Apr. 3 – Apr. 24 – Kisii Peace Museum
- May 1 – May 22 – Maa Peace Museum in Narok (Postponed due to weather/ road conditions – TBD)
- May 26 – June 10 – Pokot Women’s Peace Museum (Postponed due to weather/ road conditions – TBD)
- July 17 – Aug. 7 – National Conference in Nairobi -Nairobi slums exhibition