Kenya's Most Wanted:
(small filing cabinet size)

Kenya's Least Wanted:
(paperback size)

Survey Notes

This research was commissioned by Komar & Melamid and carried out by Research International.

Research International East Africa Ltd interviewed 500 Kenyan people, aged 15 years or over, in three major urban centers: Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu. The face-to-face interviews were conducted in April 1995.

50% of the respondents were female, 50% male. The age distribution represents the real age distribution in Kenya ie there were more younger people in the sample than older. 66% of the interviews were conducted in the capital city (Nairobi), 22% in Mombasa and 12% in Kisumu.

This table report consists of the summary of the results, the translated version of questionnaire with the total distribution for each question and data tables.

Summary of the Results

This survey was carried out to explore the opinions and attitudes of the people in Kenya towards art. In total 500 face-to-face interviews were carried out in April 1995. The results do~not represent the whole Kenyan population as for many Kenyan people the priorities of life are far more basic. The respondents were those who at least could read or write and many of them had completed secondary schoolwith O-levels or even had a higher education.

A majority of the respondents consider their spending decisions carefully, and are most of the time willing to pay a little extra for style or design. The design and color of different objects are considered to be very important for all product categories studied, most of all for clothes like dresses or suits. The colours the respondents mostly liked were blue and green. Purple, balck, white and pink were also among the favourite colours of the Kenyan people.

In leisure time these Kenyans like to listen to music, read books and tend the garden. Playing instruments, collecting things and going to camping, hiking etc. are not very popular in Kenya.

The way one dresses oneself or decorates one's home is very important to most of the respondents. 71% have some photographs or pieces of art displayed at home. Works of art are chosen both to fit the decor in home and one's own taste. These Kenyans- mostly had prints of calendars (91%), posters (72%) or photographs (75%) in their home. Sculptures or statues were also popular pieces of art (70%). Both modern and traditional styles were favoured, mostly African, but also to some extent American art. Both older and newer objects were preferred.

The preferred items as for the paintings are wild animals (59%), natural setting (87%', outdoor scenes (75%). Religious art was also quite popular and accepted in Kenya (44%). For outdoor scenes people prefer rivers, lakes and seas and forests. Rainy season was preferable to dry one. For indoor paintings the favorites are domestic scenes with flowers, animals or fruits.

The educational role of the art is important to Kenyans. 64 % of the respondent stated that art should also be realistic stated. "Non-realistic" art should depict imaginary objects with playful designs and soft curves. Rando patterns are preferred to geometric ones.

As to the painting techniques, Kenyan people prefer paintings were the canvas and the structure looks smooth and flat. Majority prefered blended colors and paler shades or more vibrant shades of colors. As for atmosphere, the paintings should show festive mood in simple settings. Larger paintings are preferred, up to the size of a small filing cabinet. Most of the respondents (45%) like to see famous people in the paintings. The figures are preferred painted while working, fully clothed and in groups.

When given a choice, a piece of art would be chosen by as many as 77 % and money of equal value only by 18 % of the respondents. Art should be realistic and relaxing rather than confusing. Kenyan people would not usually spend more than $6-50 on a piece of art. The degree to which one likes the painting and the medium are important choice criteria.

The artists included were not very well know. The most famous artists were the European artists Pablo Picasso and Claude Monet and the African artists Billy Kaigwa and John Diang'a. People very seldom had an unfavourable impression on any artist.

In regard of valuing painting as a profession, almost as many Kenyans would go dining with an artist (24%) as with a TV/movie star (27%). 78% of parents would encourage their children in becoming an artist and almost a half in marrying an artist.

43 % of the respondents visit an art gallery at least once a year while 37% do not visit them at all. The major reasons for not visiting frequently are the lack of art galleries in the area of residence and the lack of spare time. Only a minority stated that the cost of admission and not enjoying looking at art were reasons for not visiting galleries. 78 % of the respondents want to have a say in determining which work of art will be displayed in public places.

In conclusion, the attitudes towards art are very positive in Kenya. Design and style are important in different objects and the majority also has some pieces of art at home. The art taste of the respondents is biased towards realistic looking landscape paintings. Wild animals or famous people and even historical people were preferred as figures.

Research International Finland May 16, 1995

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