The Place of Visual Art in Peace and Conflict Resolution in Nairobi, Kenya

  • Jane Otieno
Keywords: Conflict resolution, Exhibits, Intervention, Peace building, Peace, Visual arts


Visual art as one of the fundamental approaches to peace and reconciliation has the capacity to offer a creative and non-violent avenue to engage communities in projects of peace and reconciliation. Peace building cuts across disciplines; however, the field of visual art often receives less attention. Given the complexities of conflict and the mounting crises in the society, there is need to adopt diverse tactics that meet the challenges posed during peace building. There is little documentation of how art creates social and personal change. This paper highlights the significant role visual art plays in the arena of peace building and sustenance to improve socio-cultural community life in Nairobi, Kenya. Therefore, the place of visual art in social exposition, its ability to act as a non-threatening path for dialogue and its power in propagating peace issues in the society cannot be overemphasized. The paper provides a review of literature that deals with peace and conflict resolution in the interdisciplinary approach to peace building. In this paper, an attempt is made at reviewing some artworks that deal with peace and conflict resolution, and commentaries by some of the artists to advance art in the interdisciplinary approach to peace building. Descriptive method was used to explain the interaction between visual art and peace resolution. The main finding of this paper is that visual art can be used as a tool to raise awareness and prevent disasters, and can be implemented during conflict situations to make great impact on intervention processes. The paper concludes by calling on the relevant bodies and agencies to encourage more artworks in public spaces for better understanding on the role of visual arts as the mediator for understanding and nurturing peace.