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Italians bring art to Malindi

Updated Thursday, March 17th 2011 at 00:00 GMT +3
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Italians are a creative lot, love beautiful things and have a close relation with art. This is benefiting Malindi, which has come to be known by some as "Little Italy in Africa".

Unfortunately, the community often hits the headlines negatively creating wrong impressions. It is a fact that Malindi cannot survive without Italian tourists, their hotels, businesses and residents, who are the main supporters in many charity projects.

This month, something positive and exciting is happening for art lovers. There are two exhibitions that will display modern art created at the Dream of Africa Hotel by famous Italian artist Bruno Fael in collaboration with Sam Koigi.

Art everywhere

Harmony facing the sea

One exhibition known as Biennale di Malindi will be held for the third time. It is organised by Sarenco, who supporting and working with local artists. This international exhibition of contemporary art is often held at Sarenco’s home and workshop between December and March.

The other exhibition is at Amando Tanzini Creative Centre at White Elephant Hotel, which has reinvented itself and looks like a permanent open-air exhibition with pieces of art all over the place, starting with three larger than life giraffes standing under a mugumo tree.

Art fusion between Kenyans and Italians has a long history. Giulio Bargellini, a famous art collector and owner of African Dream Village invited Italian sculptors to Malindi in 1988 to create art with their Kenyan counterparts. The result was stunning and it was the first time I saw a hotel owner supporting and financing pieces of art to be put at the reception and in the garden.

Unfortunately, the hotel burned down and the salvaged pieces of art were shipped to Italy where they now grace Giulio’s Garden of Art. But the hotel has risen from the ashes and is now a five-star — Dream of Africa Hotel.


The new proprietor Franco Rosso has commissioned famous sculptor and painter Bruno Fael from Milan, who has worked in Malindi on different projects since 2004.

This year he has created some colourful paintings for Rosso’s suite and a sculpture called Harmony in collaboration with versatile artist Sam Koigi.

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