An Update on Nafasi’s “Breaking Barriers and Building Bonds” Project

In February this year, Nafasi Art Space launched a special fundraising campaign called “Breaking Barriers and Building Bonds.” If you’re reading this, you may already know about it!

We’re excited to give you an update now that we’re two months into the project, and would like to thank everyone who has donated so far. We have reached 20% of our fundraising goal! (In case you’re new or need a bit of a refresher check out the bottom of this post, where we give some background on the project.)

So how has the build gone so far?

Here are some progress shots showing where we started, where we’ve reached, and the designs for where we want to end up!

There have been some hiccups and challenges along the way — for example we painted one of the containers golden yellow but no matter how many coats we added, you could still see the old color underneath! So we ended up switching to a deep eggplant purple after many team discussions. Luckily, we all think it turned out beautifully!

Throughout our entire process we worked together to integrate re-used materials; we found new ways to make shelves, railings and benches using left-over pieces of metal and wood.


There have also been many moments of excitement and joy, especially when we opened the Academy workshop space to our new co-hort of Academy student artists.

They’ve already settled in and are feeling at home, despite the fact we still have some more work to do on the space. But part of the magic  is how all of the spaces at Nafasi are continually evolving works-in-progress, which are improved as we go and informed by the people who use them.

The future of these spaces is exciting to think about. We are already imagining the incredible artworks to be created and shared, the conversations and plans that will be sparked by the networking spaces, and the artworks that will complete their journey from the artists’ minds to the collectors’ hearts (and walls!).

But we still need your help to get there. 

We are short of 8,000 USD to reach our goal to be able to finish the space. Major bits are still missing like the glass and door to the art shop, furniture for the co-working spaces, equipment for the digital lab, as well as cushions, lights and plants to make the space feel cozy and inviting.

We know that there are so many important causes that need help, and world events which put things into a new perspective. We believe art is an important part of building peace, understanding, tolerance, and the work of creating a safe world begins long before conflict erupts. We hope you will consider supporting our project as a small investment in a more peaceful future.

Please visit our global giving page to learn more and make a donation 🙂

Asanteni sana.



Here’s a bit more about the project and WHY we think it’s important.

What’s the opportunity? 

Tanzania is home to an abundance of talented artists whose potential could flourish by being in an inspirational and creatively- stimulating environment.

Ok, so what’s the problem? 

The persistent shortage of support, spaces and platforms for Tanzanian contemporary artists makes it extremely challenging to develop a unique voice while also gaining the necessary skills to establish a successful career.

What is Nafasi’s solution? 

Nafasi’s platform aims to support artists who suffer from working in isolation or lack the resources to actualize their potential to the fullest. We encourage and support an engaged network of creatives, teachers, media experts and trainers, who help expose aspiring artists to the skills and network necessary for a sustainable artistic practice.

In 2020 we designed and built a two-story art academy from refurbished shipping containers – pretty cool, right?! But as Nafasi has grown, so has the need for new spaces and infrastructure to support the increasing numbers of artists and creatives arriving at the space.

This building project has 2 parts, the design and construction of a shared workshop and studio space for our 12-14 Nafasi Academy students per year, and a networking and showcasing space that will include a reception office, an art print shop, a digital media lab, and 4 areas for gathering, meetings, and co-working.