Nafasi Art Space

An Independent Centre for Contemporary Art in Tanzania

Pascal, dancer with MuDa AfricaNafasi Art Space

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.

Karibuni Nafasi Art Space (2017-07) by Ari SnowNafasi Art Space

Music video set upNafasi Art Space

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. 

Nafasi StageNafasi Art Space

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.

Agxon's Misambwa exhibitionNafasi Art Space

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 WatotoNafasi Art Space

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.

Nafasi ya WatotoNafasi Art Space

Nafasi GalleryNafasi Art Space

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 GalleryNafasi Art Space

Mwandale's studioNafasi Art Space

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.

World of Weaving's studioNafasi Art Space

Michel Owacho's studioNafasi Art Space

Children's Art WorkshopNafasi Art Space

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.

Francis Annan exhibitionNafasi Art Space

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.

Agxon exhibition preview (2017-08) by Ari SnowNafasi Art Space

Nafasi film screeningNafasi Art Space

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.

Zawose Family at Wikiendi Live!Nafasi Art Space

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.

Wikiendi Live preview by Ari SnowNafasi Art Space

Time2Dance FestivalNafasi Art Space

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.

Mandela at Wikiendi Live!Nafasi Art Space

Building Sound Systems WorkshopNafasi Art Space

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.

Irham Jaruph, BagamoyoNafasi Art Space

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 ChapNafasi Art Space

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.

Women Xpress community eventNafasi Art Space

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.

At The Market (2016) by Lutengano MwakisopileNafasi Art Space

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.

Isack Abeneko performanceNafasi Art Space

Madengo (2008) by Mwandale MwanyekwaNafasi Art Space

TABID - The African Beauty In the Darkness (2016) by MakekeNafasi Art Space

Nantea Dance performanceNafasi Art Space

Unakwenda by Nathan MpangalaNafasi Art Space

Untitled (Woman peeling veggies) (2016) by Nicholas CalvinNafasi Art Space

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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