Back to overview

Invisible Inventories: Questioning Kenyan Collections in Western Museums

***INTERVENTION BY ARTIST COLLECTIVE THE NEST FROM TUESDAY, 2ND NOVEMBER UNTIL SUNDAY, 5TH DECEMBER AND BY THE SHIFT COLLECTIVE FROM TUESDAY, 7TH DECEMBER***
more here

How can we make Kenyan cultural assets that are possessed by institutions in the Global North accessible to present-day Kenyan society?

Since 2018, this question has been addressed by the International Inventories Programme (IIP), which brings together Kenyan and European artists and scholars. The core aim of the project is to develop a database of all Kenyan objects in European and North American museums. Following exhibitions in Nairobi (18.3.–30.5.2021) and Cologne (28.5.–29.8.2021), the visualisation of this database will now be presented in the Weltkulturen Museum along with further scholarly and artistic contributions.

As well as negotiating issues about restitution, a forum will be created for addressing individual objects from intellectual and emotional points of view. The exhibition also deals with the psychological and political consequences of the loss or absence of certain objects from the societies in which they were created. Perspectives and voices from Kenya are central to the approach taken at the Weltkulturen Museum. There are works on show by artist collectives The Nest and SHIFT, interviews with members of local Kenyan societies, footage from the discussions organised by the project, and the results of joint research on objects from the collection. In order to highlight the diverse range of opinions about how these objects should be presented, the artist collectives will redesign a room of the exhibition during its runtime: this will turn the museum display itself into a subject for debate.


  1. Participating scholars and artists
    The Nest Collective: Jim Chuchu, Njoki Ngumi (Kenya)
    SHIFT collective: Sam Hopkins (Kenya/Germany), Marian Nur Goni (France), Simon Rittmeier (Germany)
    National Museums of Kenya: Lydia Nafula, Philemon Nyamanga, George Juma Ondeng’, Njeri Gachihi, Lydia Galavu and the Tuzi collective (Kenia)
    Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum: Clara Himmelheber (Germany)
    Weltkulturen Museum: Julia Friedel, Leonie Neumann, Frauke Gathof (Germany) 
  1. Adress, Opening hours, Prices
    Weltkulturen Labor
    Schaumainkai 37
    60594 Frankfurt am Main

    €3.50 / reduced €1.50
    Children and young adults up to 18 years free

    Opening times
    Tues – Sun, 11am – 6pm
    Wed, 11am – 8pm


In cooperation with the Goethe-Institut Nairobi


Funded by