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The Nafasi Academy for Contemporary Art, Expression, and Inclusion aims to improve and strengthen access to cultural rights in Tanzania by serving as a learning programme for emerging artists, curators, and arts managers, offering a strong foundation in conceptual art practices, opportunities for artistic exchange and collaboration, and space to create and exhibit their work.

The Academy is situated on the southern end of Nafasi’s large compound, and is built from damaged shipping containers from the Dar es Salaam port that have been refurbished and outfitted according to the needs of the artists and programme.


As a SPACE – Nafasi Academy consists of three artist studios, a large classroom, a reading library, a large production workshop, an art supply shop, an exhibition gallery, and an amphitheatre-style cinema space. The centre has been designed via a co-creative process involving the input of the community and is continuously ‘built’ through the ongoing engagement of Student Members participating in its programming.


As an opportunity for EDUCATION + EXCHANGE – Nafasi Academy is a training programme for aspiring and emerging artists and cultural workers from underrepresented communities that aims to equip small cohorts of Student Members with the tools, knowledge, and skills critical to creating meaningful work and integrating into local and international art communities.

The ‘question-based’ programme samples from successful community-minded art school curricula – and takes the form of intensive theoretical modules, exchanges with International Artists in Residence, and regular mentorship sessions facilitated by professional Tanzanian artists and curators, many of whom are Nafasi Alumni members.


As a PLATFORM – Nafasi Academy provides exhibition and showcase opportunities where the artists’ and curators’ work can be seen by the public and lead to conversation and critique, fostering and promoting social dialogue through artistic expression.

At the end of each Academy programme, the student members receive ongoing support, opportunities, and mentorship as the become Nafasi Studio Members or establish themselves as professional artists and arts organizers in Dar es Salaam and across the country.


Module 1: Essences

The first intensive workshop of 2022 focused on an orientation to Nafasi Art Space and the Nafasi Academy, and a general introduction to contemporary visual art practice from a Tanzanian perspective. The deeper inquiry and theme of the workshop was “Sensing the Self”, or the process of reflecting on one’s own identity and experiences as they shape an artists’ perspective and creative expression.

The workshop was facilitated by Jesse Gerard Mpango and Nicholas Calvin, with additional sessions led by Rebecca Mzengi Corey, Rhoda Kambenga, and others. Site visits were taken to the National Museum and the Dar Centre for Architectural Heritage (DARCH) for a visit to the solo exhibition of Andrew Munuwa.

Technical Mentorships:

The Module I mentors are: Thobias Minzi, Amani Abeid, Hedwiga Tairo, and Klaus Hartmann.


Module I Intensive Photo Essay

Essences Exhibition: Online Gallery

Essences: Sensing the Self

How is the artists’ own personal identity and perspective the foundation for their creative practice?

A film created during Module I by Nicholas Calvin Mwakatobe

Essences: Exhibition Dialogue

Academy Module I co-facilitators Jesse Gerard Mpango and Nicholas Calvin Mwakatobe share reflections on the intensive workshop and the theme of the exhibition.



The 2021 Graduates of the Academy for Curatorial Practice and Arts Management:

Baraka Leo
Editha Gyindo (Tura)
Fred Halla
Haika Gilliard
Hassan Kisamo
Martin Shayo
Othman Mussa
Rhoda Kambenga
Safina Kimbokota
Upendo Chitinka
Pius Matunge

Invisible Hands: Conversations on Curation

The Curriculum

Module 1: The Curator and the Self

What is the role of the curator? Why are they important to art? How do we understand criticality, subjectivity, bias and point of view in curation and arts management?

Module 2: The Curator in Space and Time

Why do we need a historical and spatial understanding and vision in order to curate? What are the implications of colonial and neo-colonial social, economic, political, and cultural realities in contemporary curating in Tanzania and Africa? How do we explore digital space and analog time? How to engage the utopian imagination in curation, creating the future by imagining other worlds and realities?

Module 3: The Curator and the Artist

How do curators and artists coexist to deepen discourse, understanding, awareness, and connection? How does a curator or arts manager help foster creativity? How does one build curatorial concepts around art and artists? How does one care for art and develop mutual relationships of trust and communication with artists as a curator/arts manager?

Module 4: The Curator and the Audience

What experience of art do we want to create? How does the curator think about audience and the public? How can one curate for inclusion, access and participation? How to curators and arts managers contribute to sustainable and resilient art spaces, programmes, and institutions? What are the political, economic, social and spiritual connections between community, curation, and transformation? How does one professionalize a curatorial practice and make a career in the arts?

Technical Mentorships:

Analysis and Critique, Arts Administration, Art as Community Practice, Research Methods and Concept Development, Art History and Contemporary Context



Graduation Exhibition by the Nafasi Academy 2020 Co-Hort
(Click image below to see full gallery)

Dear Africans Mixed media 75 x 90cm 2020 Jennifer Msekwa


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