Social Ecology

Are artists of different cultural backgrounds working in pairs able to use the experience of non-hierarchical collaboration in a larger group of people?

The third edition of the DUOS Festival showcases a variety of methods used by artists from Kenya and Poland in various fields of art. Workshops and exhibitions prepared according to the ethical principles of social ecology and carried out on the African coast and in Szczecin from a transcultural perspective show how artists together with students and craftspeople create their works.

The National Museum in Szczecin - the Museum of Contemporary Art presents, among other things, works and their records made during a month-long residency of nine male and female lecturers from the Academy of Art in Szczecin on the Kenyan coast of the Indian Ocean in March 2023. They are complemented by new realisations, including site-specific installations deployed in urban space, made during a June visit by artists from the Coast to the West Pomeranian capital.

According to social ecology, a concept described in the second half of the twentieth century by American political philosopher Murray Bookchin, the causes of the current cascade of environmental disasters can be found among the then widespread policies of capitalist and socialist governments fuelled by the pursuit of economic growth. According to Bookchin, these crises are the aftermath of hierarchies and dominations manifested in work and society, including men over women, the old over the young, and stemming from the belief that humans can control the forces of nature.

From the collapse of the shipbuilding industry in the Baltic countries to the pollution of the Indian Ocean and to the climate crisis threatening life on Earth, the hierarchical structures and dominance behaviours present in corporations and political systems, to which they owe their existence, consistently deceive the people caught up in their operation. In contrast, social ecology, to counteract the effects of top-down production and mass consumption, proposes decentralised cooperation between self-governing municipalities. Direct democracy is today only practised in the autonomous region of northern Syria known as Rojava, where communities take responsibility for activities traditionally performed by the government.

DUOS artists and students of Pwani University in Kilifi and of Mombasa University of Technology, together with actors, craftspeople, dancers and musicians, used Bookchin's grassroots prescriptions to confront material and power imbalances through new forms of socio-political organisation of respecting the environment.

The social ecology is a continuation of the previous themes of the DUOS Festival, taking place in Kilifi and Szczecin in 2021, contained in the slogans: "Community" and "Women Power". The DUOS Festival is a practical component of the research project "Transcultural Perspectives in Art and Art Education (TPAAE)", which will bring the creation of art and design degree courses at the Pwani University in Kilifi in autumn 2023.

The programme accompanying the "Social Ecology" exhibition included screenings of videos awarded at the Lampart Short Film Festival, held alongside the third edition of the DUOS Festival, and a performance by Kenyan Charity Faith Akinyi, a student at the Academy of Arts with Percussionist AS, an academic percussion ensemble.


Social Ecology

June 29th–September 24th 2023

The National Museum in Szczecin – the Museum of Contemporary Art 
ul. Staromłyńska 1


Artists: Joseph Allan Green & Rafał Żarski, Yona Mudibo & Natalia Karczewska, Philip Tangara (Pet the Poet) & Zorka Wollny, Caroline Ngorobi & Justyna Celeda, Mike Okoth & Anna Maria Karczmarska, Mbinga & Mikołaj Małek, Tommie Ominde & Igor Omulecki, Ruby Wanjiru Kang’ethe & Magdalena Szymków, Rafał Krzanowski, Simba Wanga, Zaire Ngome Msagapore, Rosita Deluigi

Curators: Łukasz Jastrubczak & Marlena Chybowska-Butler

Cooperation: Ewa Prądzyńska

Graphic design by: Noviki


TPAAE is a four-year project dedicated to the study of European and East African influences on artistic creation on both continents. It brings together institutions from Poland (Academy of Art in Szczecin, the National Museum in Szczecin), Italy (Università degli Studi di Macerata) and Kenya (Pwani University, Kenyatta University, Technical University of Mombasa). The programme is funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 programme under the Marie Curie-Skłodowska Actions, covering professional development, research and innovation, under grant agreement no. 872718, and co-funded by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education's PMW programme from 2020 to 2023 under agreement no. 5109/H2020/2020/2.


The DUOS Festival has received the Honorary Patronage of the Polish Embassy in Nairobi.

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