Artists Alliance for Africa is a group of Artists led by Nicholas Jones, who started out simply looking for a way to give back to the world community in a manner that could and would make the world a better place to live in. It all started in 2017 when Nicholas began a dialogue with Bee Gilbert (Founder of Anno's Africa) about how he could offer his expertise to her organisation in helping these children realise their dream of becoming artists one day.
Things rapidly progressed and, after having gone and experienced the country while working with the children in January 2018 with his partner Julia Bergua, he started to talk with Bee about organising for other International Ballet Dancers to come out alongside him to help. It was important to assist with the work that Anno's Africa/One fine day were doing in providing arts workshops to the children weekly and also to begin Nairobi's first Dance Gala dedicated both to Traditional Kenyan Dance alongside Ballet and Contemporary dance showcasing a rich cultural exchange. This was the way of offering more to the children that couldn't be provided otherwise.
It has proved to be a major success in its first year both with the Alliance Française, who offered us the space and stage where the Gala was performed, as well as the public in Nairobi. Thankfully to all of our the benefactors it was possible to pull it of a 2nd year in the summer of 2019, where multiple Embassies and Ambassadors from the world community joined in supporting this mission.
Now we will be going for the 3rd consecutive summer and we are going to be doing the first festival with other local artists involved and spreading the horizons to include other art forms. We will, year on year, make this festival into a grander event on a grander scale with more artists involved and more children participating.
In the end, the final mission is to help inspire the community and encourage the state to build a National School for the Arts in Kenya, where children from all over the region can come and learn all forms of art alongside their typical subjects in a safe and secure environment tailored for this kind of education. We will work hard alongside the people to bring awareness to the world of art so that anyone from any walk of life can have the same opportunities many of us had, when we were young aspiring Artists.
Make an action for the greater good
Artist Alliance for Africa alongside Anno's Africa/One fine day is focused on offering the widest possible perspective of the world of arts to these children. Whether it be Ballet, Drama, Literature or Music we aim to offer them the widest lens so that they can make the best choice for themselves as to which form of art suits their personality most.
By bringing the International Artists to them we are able to offer a very high standard of training during the workshops which culminates with a Grand Gala where the children are given the chance to showcase their newly learnt skills to their families and public alongside our International Artists.
This year we will be organising our first Arts festival which will focus on involving more local Artists as well as International Artists to offer a wider collaboration between us and to promote a greater people to people exchange. This will be a festival where ideas can flourish and Artists can share their experiences with each other and especially with the children to help with their development; not just in art but in their general lives too. Art is not simply a means to an end, it is a unique human creation by which one can inspire immense change whether it be political, social or individual.
One Step at a Time
Education and knowledge are essential pillars of any well functioning society. For a nation to achieve true sovereignty and independence it helps to have a culture that is beautiful, strong and unified. We aim to help educate and work alongside the community in Kenya to engage more people in the Arts and help bring about a rigorous dialogue on the future of art in the form of institutions in Kenya and the wider region. Helping create a stable foundation which can act as a springboard for the further development of the nations identity.
We also wish that this organisation can become a platform of cultural exchange so that we can strengthen understanding between peoples and also show that our differences in culture are what make us unique and that those contrasts are beautiful examples of how even our differences can be a unifying force between us.
Of course one step at a time!
Helping The Community
We advocate for more universal access to the Arts and that to be able to practice art as a profession is essential to sustain a high quality artistic industry in any country, while providing people with the tools that can inspire hope and change for a greater society. We want to help people in Kenya to get that access so that they can share with the world their culture in its most beautiful form, helping create exchanges with other peoples, bolstering the national image and providing people with better lives in general.
We believe art is the essential gift to the human mind which brings about creativity in all areas of society, essentially challenging a nation to do better, be better and want better; not just for ourselves but for the entire nation.
“Everything that is done in the world is done by hope”