Nafasi Art Space

Nafasi Art Space

An Independent Centre for Contemporary Art in Tanzania

Nafasi Art Space
Nafasi Art Space was founded in 2008 by a group of Tanzanian artists to create a platform for contemporary Tanzanian visual art. Nafasi opened not long after the closing of the iconic Nyumba ya Sanaa (also known as the Mwalimu Nyerere Cultural Centre), which was the primary centre for artists from 1972. Since then, Nafasi has been the only independent, artist-led space in Tanzania where contemporary artists’ work is both created and exhibited. Nafasi, which means "opportunity" or "chance" in kiSwahili, is a vibrant creative hub, home to over 60 member artists working in 37 studios.
Nafasi Spaces
Set in a large outdoor compound on the edge of the industrial area in Dar es Salaam, Nafasi Art Space provides a creative environment for independent contemporary visual and performing artists to create, learn, exhibit, and perform. 

The Nafasi Stage is the centre of Nafasi's performing arts programme. It is a flexible space used for dance rehearsals, live music performances, plays, and visual art installations.

The Great Hall at Nafasi Art Space is Nafasi's largest temporary exhibition space. Major exhibitions have included "Women=Men" (2013), "Cabinet of Curiosities" (2015), the East Africa Art Biennale (2013 and 2015), and "Misambwa by Agxon" (2017).

Nafasi ya Watoto is a children's art space, designed to introduce inspiring and fun creative activities to young people. Nafasi offers regular visual and performing arts workshops for children of all ages.

The Nafasi Gallery was opened alongside the children's art space in 2017. It showcases the work of Nafasi artists, and hosts regular exhibitions of contemporary African art.

Nafasi Art Space is home to over 60 member artists working in 37 studios, many converted from old shipping containers. Studios are used to paint, produce music, weave, weld, sculpt and more.

Nafasi Programmes
Nafasi hosts workshops, trainings, and an artist-in-residency programme to encourage learning and exchange between artists from different backgrounds and across disciplines. Nafasi also hosts a lively programme of public events.

Exhibitions at Nafasi Art Space include solo and group shows by local and international artists. Exhibitions at Nafasi have increased public awareness of the contemporary visual art scene in Tanzania.

Nafasi curates a programme of monthly film screenings in partnership with Kijiweni Productions. The programme focuses on independent African cinema, showing socially-bound and emotionally-driven films from the past and present.

Launched at Nafasi in 2016 in collaboration with the Tanzania Heritage Project and Chanzo East Africa, Wikiendi Live! is a unique and vibrant live music event dedicated to showcasing traditional African beats and fusion. The platform features artists from around Tanzania and Zanzibar, as well as visiting regional and international artists.

Nafasi’s partnerships reflect the artist-centred ethos of the space. Collaborative events are an opportunity to explore pan-African linkages and build networks across the continent. Nafasi has hosted, among many others, the following: Time2Dance and Haba na Haba dance festivals, Jalada Literary and Arts Festival, and the Marahaba Swahili Music Festival.

Workshops at Nafasi provide a space for critical learning and stimulate the production of contemporary art in Tanzania. Trainings cover technique, art theory, and creative entrepreneurship.

Nafasi's artist-in-residency programme offers visiting artists the opportunity to devote time to their artistic practice within a close-knit and welcoming community of artists. The programme stimulates exchange with artists locally, regionally, and internationally in order to connect Tanzanian artists with the global art community.

Chap Chap workshops invite the public to participate in an interactive art activity related to a Nafasi artist, exhibition, or artist-in-residence. Nafasi artists facilitate the event by engaging the public in creating art using a specific technique. Anyone young or old, can get a quick (chap chap) introduction to the different methods used by contemporary artists.

Nafasi actively develops audiences to raise visibility and awareness of contemporary art in Tanzania, organising outreach events that take art out into the community. Nafasi strives to build and nurture audiences that are diverse in age, ethnicity, gender, socio-economic background, and interests.

Tukipewa Nafasi
Nafasi artists produce a wide variety of art in diverse media, including paintings, sculpture, installations, fashion, dance and music. This concentration of artists in one space has created an inspiring environment where artists exchange ideas and knowledge, and collaborate frequently. The following images are a small sample of the various types of art being created at Nafasi.
Credits: Story

Curated by Rebecca Corey, Beatrice McDermott, and Asteria Malinzi.

All images copyright of the artists.

Photos by Ari Snow and Nicholas Edward Byrne, unless stated otherwise.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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