Art and culture are important parts of our lives that we need to pay attention to and learn from. Through our are and cultural workshops, we strive to generate a greater awareness of Maasai culture. We’re attempting to preserve the great elements of our culture and enhance its understanding. It is our sincere hope that people of all cultures are able to come together to learn from each other.
Batik art and Maasai workshops
Batik painting is an old art form that has been around for thousands of years, originating in Asia. It involves an intricate dyeing process that creates beautiful canvas designs to share stories through. Dye-resistant wax is used stretched out fabric like silk and cotton to display the hidden patterns created by the artist. This is a fun, exciting way for students to learn how the art form is used. Students start with a blank piece of fabric and are taught how to stretch it, apply dyes, and how to use wax on it appropriately. The colorful masterpieces created by this process are remarkable.
After completing some Batik art, students are brought to the Maasai cultural workshops, where they learn about the origin of the Maasai people, mythology, beliefs and values. This culture is blended into the history of the people. Afterwards, Sironka shares a present day view of the Masasai community, informing the students of the state of the people and what can be done to help generate awareness for and improve their rate of poverty, homelessness, and sub-standard living conditions.
These workshops have the following goals:
- Enhance student creativity and personal development
- Improve student knowledge of Batik art and the color and painting process
- Share common Batik art techniques like hot waxing and outlining
- Increase understanding of the Maasai culture and inspire action to help the people
Who are they?
The Maasai are to this day a nomadic tribe from Kenya, living in small settlements of approximately 10–20 families per settlement. They occupy a large area of the Rift Valley of Kenya, and Tanzania.
Many Maasai make their living trading in cattle, sheep and goats, and still many more have turned to selling bead ornaments to tourists as a source of income.
As has always been their custom, the Maasai equate wealth with the number of cattle, sheep and goats that an individual owns.
Unlike many of the other Kenyan tribes, the Maasai have held on to many of their Cultural ways. These include the age–set system, their colorful dress code and livestock ownership.
However they have also resisted change. This includes certain retrogressive traditions such as girl circumcision, and early marriage for their girls.
But amidst these setbacks, many Maasai have today chosen to cautiously improve their lifestyles. They have done so without drastically altering their traditions and Culture.
They continue to hold on to a pastoral nomadic lifestyle and to being a noble, good mannered, and people of impressive physical appearance.