From utamaduni wetu story exhibitions to pocket art galleries

I learnt something new about Mo Amin: The Eye of Africa

In Summary

• The Google Arts and Culture pocket galleries are experiences that allow AR-enabled smartphone users to view artwork pieces that are usually inaccessible publicly

• They are 3D immersive virtual galleries that have so far featured 61 exhibitions by legendary African artists

Mo Amin's pocket gallery
Mo Amin's pocket gallery

Can we talk about how the Google Arts and Culture pocket galleries are just beautiful?

If you are yet to see them, you can go online and search for ‘Google Arts and Culture pocket galleries’ and get to enjoy the 61 art exhibitions.

Some time back, I wrote about the beauty of documenting our cultural stories online.

The Kamba, Luo, Njemps, Ogiek, Samburu, Swahili, Taita, you name it, are live on the platform thanks to Google, who worked hand-in-hand with the National Museums of Kenya and other notable contributors, such as Shujaa stories.

Let’s not forget the 61 stories of our traditional heroes that are live on the platform as well.

From Ajuran Sultanate, the royals from Somali, to Chief Mukudi, the Samia Chief’s star, to Gor Mahia, the powerful Luo magician, to even Mwangeka wa Malowa, the magnificent Taita warrior.

It’s beautiful and noble how our stories get to live on thanks to the gatekeepers of our history, who have willingly shared the stories, and a different team decided to place them online.

The Internet lives on and, therefore, our children’s children will have a greater chance to learn about where their ancestors hailed from.

Which brings me to the pocket galleries.

They can easily be accessed on your mobile phone, hence the name.

These online art exhibitions went live during the celebrations of Africa Day that took place last week.

These 3D immersive virtual galleries include the showcasing of remarkable global artists and some of their works.

In collaboration with the Mo Amin Foundation, Google has put up an iconic gallery to celebrate the legendary Kenyan photojournalist, Mohamed Amin: Eye of Africa.

“Meet one of the most iconic photojournalists, who documented some of the most important people, moments and places in Africa in the 20th century,” is what it says before you open the gallery.

Have you ever done a VR and AR art tour?

The pocket galleries are a combination of the two.

Photos highlighting Africa’ independence from 1957 onwards, Mboya’s assasination in 1969, fashion in the 1970s from Mo’s lens, East African Safari Rally in the 70s and much more are what you find in Mo’s gallery.

There is of course a brief history about his life when you enter the 3D guide, for those who maybe have never heard of him.

I wouldn’t want to spoil the fun any further.

Take the tour for yourself.

Did I mention that the gallery has an audio guide?

It is worth noting that a number of showcasings on the Google Arts and Culture platform have the audio feature enabled.

Apart from the Mo Amin’s exhibition, there are a couple more pocket galleries to venture in and learn.

Those who know me, know how much I enjoy these tech things, and this is one area that keeps fascinating me.

This is a plus for Google and the local collaborators.

At least that history will get to live on and our children’s children will know about Mo Amin, even though they have never really met him.

His legacy also gets to live on.

Oh, before I forget to say it, happy Africa Day to you, even though I have said it days later.

Even though Africa celebrates the 60th anniversary of the continental union, the day symbolises Africa’s unity, commitment to peace, democracy and economic development.

Celebrate Africa and invest time to learn more about the continental past, present and future.

Legendary photojournalist Mohamed Amin:Eye of Africa
Legendary photojournalist Mohamed Amin:Eye of Africa
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