Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

16 December 2012

Tanzania: Two in One At Barazani Night

To wind down 2012, Alliance Francais organised an art exhibition by students of Fine Art at the Department of Fine and Performing Arts a week before the final Barazani Night for the year on Wednesday.

The artwork on the walls blended in so naturally with the fashion show by Annette Charles Ngongi that featured bold afro centric pieces.

Speaking to Mr Kiagho Kilonzo, an Assistant Lecturer at the official opening of the exhibition the week before he explained that the art exhibition under the theme 'Affordable Art' was put together by second year students taking Fine Art at the University of Dar es Salaam.

He said that the hands on experience allowed students appreciate what it takes to put an exhibition together. The overriding message in some of over 50 pieces on display seemed to depict the consequences of HIV/AIDS which the artists through their pieces seemed to imply death.

Other students had a thing or two with witchdoctor shrines. A few took on nature capturing still forms wild animals and the wild. One painting simply labeled 'Make - up' showed a man in a turban and kanzu applying lipstick to a young lady parked off debates as exhibition goers tried to guess the relationship between the two.

All in all the pieces had a sense of innocence about them and as the theme suggests they are rather affordable. Interested parties can still visit the department after the exhibition that ended on Friday. On Wednesday night, by far the Barazani Night was a hit. I had not been to a monthly Barazani Night for a long time and I was impressed by the set up.

Used to climbing up the stairs to attend Barazani Nights I was stopped in my tracks at the back gate seeing the stage being set up outside with professional stage lights and musical instruments. The gentleman in charge of mixing and controlling the music did a fantastic job as the acoustics turned out very well.

Another feature I found new was the drinks that were on display. Spread out nicely guests could sample spirits, wines, beer and soft drinks without having to fight to get the bar man's attention. Watching what seemed to be a happening live show in France by an energetic band Evans Bukuku the MC called us into the exhibition Hall for the fashion show that opened up with a contemporary dancer swaying away to a West African beat.

What I thought was a wardrobe malfunction turned out to be a teaser as the dancer slipped out of her baggy kitenge trousers and was left with African print briefs. The designs were rather modern and daring as kitenge was mixed with satin, chiffon and lace.

From micro minis to ballroom gowns and a few means' outfits thrown in it was an exciting show. Back to the courtyard outside guests were entertained by Tandale Modern Theatre who danced in raffia skirts to the coastal beats of the enthusiastic drummers. Much as I appreciated the attire I felt it got into the way of the gyration of the ladies.

Other artistes at the Barazani Night included Kisauni Sanaa Group who acted out a drama on HIV/AIDS and school girl pregnancies. Malfred otherwise known as Michael Alfred Mwasote took to the stage and belted out Reggae and Ragga songs. For an end of the year do it was great and I am looking forward to what Alliance Francais has in stock for us next year.

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