The main body of the Collection has evolved from what used to be the RaMoMA Collection.
The RaMoMA Collection
RaMoMA (Rahimtulla Museum of Modern Art – 2000 to 2010) was formed by Carol Lees and Mary Collis to show the best art in the region and to nurture and promote learning and creativity. At its zenith, RaMoMA occupied a beautiful building on 2nd Parklands Avenue, Nairobi and hosted five separate exhibitions every month. One wing of the building was devoted to teaching children and fourteen artists, directed by James Mbuthia were deployed to hospitals and childrens’ homes to introduce children to art. The Museum also housed a library, an apartment for artists in residence, a café and a gift shop.
The Collection was formed from a mixture of generous donations by artists, donations from collectors and straight or partial acquisitions. Carol Lees resigned as Program Co-ordinator of RaMoMA in 2009. The Museum was closed in 2010 due to a lack of funding. When the Museum was being wound down, Mary Collis arranged for the Collection to be stored. Unfortunately, whilst in storage, a very small percentage of the works were damaged by water, following heavy rains and flooding of the storage facility. It was coincidental that Samantha Ripa Di Meana visited the site with her cousin who was writing her thesis on the Collection. They discovered the ongoing catastrophe. She and Mary Collis were able to move the works to their homes, saving the Collection from total destruction.
In 2009, Carol Lees resurrected her own gallery; One Off Contemporary Art Gallery.
In 2015 Mary Collis asked Carol Lees if she would take over storage of the Collection and it was decided that a new Trust should be formed to hold the Collection ‘in perpetuity for the people of Kenya’.
Susan Githuka, Anis Pringle, Annie Mather and Carol Lees are the current Trustees of EAVAT. Each brings to their roles a very different and valuable set of skills.
Marc Van Rampelberg and James Muriuki jointly curate the Collection and have made some recent additions to it. Kui Wachira works on the administration and documentation. Recent acquisitions include works from Timothy Brooke, Sebastian Kiarie, Jackson Wanjau and Patrick Kinuthia.
The joint objective of the trustees and the curators is to hold the works safely until such time as a permanent display space can be found for the Collection. In the meanwhile, the aim is to display the works regularly in a diverse set of exhibition spaces and to continue to build the Collection so that it remains relevant and representational of the exceptional artistic talent in the region.
As always, the Trustees and Curators of EAVAT thank the artists of East Africa and beyond, for their extraordinary grace and generosity in entrusting us with their work. Special thanks to James Muriuki for photographing the works and to Annie Mather for designing and maintaining our website.