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Invisible Inventories. Questioning Kenyan Collections in Western Museums

Marian Nur Goni, Sam Hopkins (ed.): 86 pages, in German and English available at the Museum.
ISBN 978-3-947902-21-7
€7,00

This magazine is part of the International Inventories Programme, a collaboration between The Nest Collective, SHIFT, the Goethe-Institut Kenya, the National Museums of Kenya, the Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum Cologne and the Weltkulturen Museum Frankfurt am Main.

Published in English and in German by iwalewabooks (Bayreuth/Johannesburg) and Kwani (Nairobi), the contributions from IIP members and Kenyan museum professionals and practitioners critically reflect museum and restitution politics but also the limits of the cooperation between African and Europeans museums. Besides conversations, essays and texts that accompany the artworks in the exhibition with the same title, the publication also contains a number of object biographies written by different authors that provide unique perspectives on the very same objects.

The zine supports the decolonising approach of the project by providing perspectives yet underrepresented in international discussions and aims to contribute to the debate on colonial histories that are inscribed in collections and museums.

It is published in the context of “Invisible Inventories. Questioning Kenyan Collections in Western Museums”, an exhibition project by the International Inventories Programme.


  1. Participating artists and researchers
    Jim Chuchu, Julia Friedel, Njeri Gachihi, Frauke Gathof, Clara Himmelheber, Sam Hopkins, Lydia Nafula, Leonie Neumann, Njoki Ngumi, Marian Nur Goni, Philemon Nyamanga, George Juma Ondeng’, Simon Rittmeier, with the support of Leonie Chima Emeka, Niklas Obermann and Jane Pauline Waithera
  1. Project management
    Anisha Soff, Goethe-Institut Kenia
  2. Project coordination
    Sheila Akwany

    Die Ausstellung International Inventories ist eine Ko-Produktion des International Inventories Programme, Akoia & Company Ltd (02/2020-02/2021) und Lynnet Ngigi (02/2021-04/2021).

    International Inventories Programme c/o the Cultural Heritage Department National Museums of Kenya Corporate Headquarters P. O. Box 40658 - 00100 Nairobi, Kenya https://www.inventoriesprogramme.org/
  3. Editors
    Marian Nur Goni, Sam Hopkins
  4. Editorial board
    Frauke Gathof, Sam Hopkins, Leonie Neumann, Marian Nur Goni, Philemon Nyamanga, Niklas Obermann, Anisha Soff, mit Unterstützung von Lukas Heger
  5. Publication coordination
    Niklas Obermann
  6. Translation
    Michaela Dudley
  7. Final proofreading
    George Salt, Sascha Bühler
  8. Publisher
    iwalewabooks (Bayreuth, Johannesburg) & Kwani Trust (Nairobi), 2021 iwalewabooks.com Serie: zines by iwalewabooks
  9. Graphic Design
    mind the gap! design, Frankfurt am Main
  10. Printer
    Holzer Druck und Medien Druckerei und Zeitungsverlag GmbH + Co. KG, Weiler im Allgäu
  11. Details
    86 pages, numerous colored illustrations, 29,5 x 24 cm
    Typeface: Cheltenham, Sofia
    Paper: Munken Print White


© Texts and images: the authors. With the exception of page 4 Studio Propolis; 7-9 Joseph K. Barasa; 19, 23, 31 Peter Wolff, Weltkulturen Museum; 28 Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa; 61–63 Philemon Nyamanga; 69, 75 Marion Mennicken, Rheinisches Bildarchiv; 70/71 Rainer Wolfsberger, Museum Rietberg; 73 private property.

All rights reserved. The German Library catalogs this publication in the German National Bibliography. Detailed bibliographic information can be found on the Internet website: http://dnb.ddb.de.