The Role of Public Services in Building a Just, Inclusive and Equal Society; Arts Competition Award Ceremony
The Art Competitions Award Ceremony was held on Saturday 18th November 2023, by UON Centre for Human Rights and Peace (CHRP) in partnership with Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (GI-ESCR), “We are here to reward excellence in art messaging, and awareness creation. The competition does not have losers, we are all winners by virtue of participation”, said the Vice Chancellor Prof. Stephen Kiama as he commended all the participants, in his speech that was presented by the Dean Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Prof. Jack Odhiambo. He noted that the University of Nairobi is focusing on more than just the academic part of students’ life, highlighting Arts as another important part. The VC also emphasized on the importance of human rights and the role public servants play in upholding them. “Human rights entail both rights and obligations from the duty bearers. The University of Nairobi contributes to this mandate by engagement and participation in such discussions, competitions and forum”, he said.
The ceremony was also graced by the presence of the Chairman-Department of Philosophy, Dr. Patrick Nyabul, the Corporate Directorate, judges, esteemed guests and students. Each recognized the profound impact of art in amplifying the discourse on social transformation. As the event unfolded, the university community and guests alike found themselves immersed in a celebration of creativity, innovation, and a shared vision for a better, more equitable world.
Talent and creativity ruled the day during the Award Ceremony. The submissions spanned various artistic mediums like paintings, stick-sketches, short films, dance, posters, songs, performed poetry and spoken words. The overall best was awarded to a painting named Piece of Work by Joy Ogutu coming in first place, a dance in second place by The University of Nairobi Travelling Theatre (UNTT) and the third position was scooped by Kenneth’s poem titled “Shosh”. Other winnings awarded were a short film by Theatre of the Absurd, a stick sketch piece, poems by John Marvin and Moonha, paintings by Bill Kisia and Valerie Akinyi, a poster named Wanjiku by Hanifa and the best song which was by Beatrice. Each work captured the artist's unique perspective on the theme of the ceremony, “The Role of Public Services in Building a Just, Inclusive, and Equal Society “. The arts collectively painted a vivid picture of the symbiotic relationship between public services and human rights.
Moreover, Dr. Francis Owakah, CHRP, Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, talked about the diversity and creativity of the art submitted during the competitions. He also insisted on the importance of human rights and the need to address the issues surrounding it. “When we talk about human rights and arts we don’t talk about winners. We talk about how well we have taught about promoting, we think about how well we have protected the rights. We talk about how well they have been fulfilled”, he argued. Dr. Owakah also explained the role of the state and the citizens when it comes to human rights. “We all know that the state is the final entity that should fulfill your rights. If rights are claimed, the first thing about rights is that you should know it”, he said. “The art competition extends beyond mere aesthetics, it serves as a platform for meaningful dialogue on the pressing societal issues”, he concluded.
In addition to this, the Deputy Director, GI-ESCR, Mr. José Guevara reminded the participants that art is a powerful and inspiring tool for advocacy and change. “We want to send the warmest congratulations to the talented students who put their hearts, feelings, talent and wisdom into their art contributions. Your hard-work and mitigation has shined light on the importance of public service in shaping a firm, inclusive and equal society. Your passion and your creativity inspire us all”, he said. Mr. Guevara concluded his remarks by thanking the University and the art competition participants for their creative expressions which he said gave life to the vital ideas such as accessibility, equality and justice.
The art competition, with its diverse array of expressions, reinforced the University of Nairobi's commitment to nurturing talent that engages with critical societal issues. Learn more about the Arts Competition and the importance of public services with our info package!