I&M Group, a leading financial services provider in East Africa, has reaffirmed its commitment to promoting the arts and supporting the growth of the creative economy in the region.
With over KES 120 million invested through art collections and partnerships with artisan groups in Kenya, I&M Group is consolidating its efforts to provide much-needed financing and advisory support.
Through the I&M Art Experience, an initiative aimed at showcasing successful industry players and fostering access to opportunities within the creative industry, the Bank aims to inspire industry professionals and the public to explore and benefit from the wealth of opportunities offered by the creative sector.
During the launch of The I&M Art Experience, Sarit Raja Shah, Executive Director of I&M Group, highlighted the Group’s longstanding advocacy for the arts, providing platforms for established and young artists to exhibit their work and nurture their careers.
“The importance of the arts ecosystem in Eastern Africa cannot be understated. I&M Group seeks to support the growth of the Creative Economy in Eastern Africa, under the creative theme ‘The Art of Progress,’ by expanding its current activities and creating more avenues for artists in the region to thrive. By shining a spotlight on the industry and facilitating its success, our aim is not only to support growth but also to inspire the next generation of artistic talent,” said Mr. Shah.
He further emphasized that art is a powerful medium that communicates experiences, evokes emotions, and connects people. While art is typically experienced in galleries, collectives, and creative spaces, I&M Group envisions bringing art to a wider audience by creating more platforms for East African artists to showcase their work.
The Group aims to foster a deeper appreciation for East African art by encouraging greater engagement from diverse groups and individuals.
I&M Bank has curated a collection of captivating art pieces by local East African artists, adorning various I&M Bank offices and creating an inspiring ambience for customers and staff.
The I&M Art Experience Coffee Table Book, a 123-page publication, documents 98 art pieces from 57 artists that the Bank has invested in over the past 25 years. The book includes brief synopses of the artists and their work.
The exclusive launch event showcased artistic excellence through an immersive art gallery, featuring paintings by the talented artists showcased in the book, as well as sculptures and beaded artworks from the collaborative efforts of the MAA Women’s Group and the I&M Foundation.
Esteemed guests, including artists, bank customers, and stakeholders from the wider art community, were in attendance.
During the event, I&M Group unveiled a stunning art piece that depicts the creation of an aluminium panel designed by the Loisaba Conservancy and handcrafted by the Samburu women from the ‘Chiu Mamas’ and ‘Kirimon Ladies groups. This remarkable piece of art now stands with pride at the front entrance of the I&M Group Headquarters at 1 Park Avenue.
Creative businesses are increasingly becoming significant drivers of economic growth and job creation, both nationally and globally. According to a study conducted by the British Council and HEVA Fund, the creative sector contributed a remarkable 5% to the national GDP as of 2017.
Moreover, artists possess essential traits for successful creative entrepreneurship, such as risk-taking, innovation, and a desire to make a positive impact in the community. With the right financial tools and business education, creative entrepreneurs and businesses can thrive and contribute even more to the economy.
I&M Group’s commitment to the arts is a significant step towards supporting the growth of the creative economy in East Africa. The Group’s investment in art and artists will help to nurture talent, create jobs, and promote economic growth in the region.