The County Government of Lamu intends to hold the first ever Lamu Art Festival from the 11th to 14th February 2016 at Lamu Island. In its growing image as the “island of festivals”, Lamu Island will be hosting the inaugural 2016 Lamu Art Festival which will feature the popular Shela Hat Contest.

The Lamu Art Festival will be aimed to promote and encourage artistic endeavor, education and art appreciation in Lamu County. It will be celebrating traditional visual arts in Lamu as well as offering the chance to local and international artists to exhibit contemporary arts.

Some of the activities to take place will be: art workshop, craft fair, gallery walk, Shela hat contest, junior hat contest, junior art competition, music concert and the famous “mad hatters” dhow race. Various prizes will be won for the different categories of competition.

Lamu County is undeniably Kenya’s top       destination as it prides itself with one of the oldest cultural heritage in Kenya dating back to the 14th Century. Lamu town which is based on Lamu island is designated as UNESCO world heritage site. Today Lamu remains an important tourist spot for this and many other reasons which led the county to host numerous festivals including the world popular Lamu Cultural festival and Maulid festival.

Art plays a crucial role in preserving the rich cultural fabric of Lamu society, from wood carving and furniture making, to boat building, jewelry, calligraphy and poetry. The intangible cultural heritage renowned in Lamu include craftsmanship such as the famous Lamu doors, henna art, traditional dhows, wooden carvings, woven works and much more art and craft that is unmatched in most of Kenya resulting from the centuries of trade.

Lamu is a perfect location for appreciation of art. Its relaxed atmosphere acts as in inspiration for many artists which brought to the birth of the Lamu Art Festival. The Painters Festival founded in 2011 and Shela Hat Contest founded in 2010 by Herbert Menzer, owner of Lamu Holidays, inspired the Lamu Art Festival which aims to celebrate all form of visual art including painting, photography, music and craft.

During the Painters Festival, the artists paint mostly outdoors two weeks at different spots throughout the Lamu Archipelago, whereas the Shela Hat Contest enables the people of Lamu to share their crafts skills through making creative hats.

The County Government of Lamu will be partnering with Lamu Holidays and Lamu Tourism Association to host the festival in the aim of growing the Lamu Painters Festival and the Shela Hat Contest to attract a wider audience of artist, and art lovers alike.


Department of Trade, Tourism and Culture

P.O.Box: 74-­‐80500

Lamu, Kenya

Tel: +254701125145




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