The Kenya stand at the China (Shenzhen) International Cultural Industries Fair 2019 has no Kenyan products and is being run by Chinese nationals.

The stand, which is named Kenya and has the Kenyan flag, is being run by West Africans who have been employed by the Chinese nationals running it. Previous editions of the fair had Kenyan products and Kenyans running it so it is strange that this time there is no genuine Kenyan representation at the fair.

Every international stand is being run by its own people and also includes products from those countries. Countries such as South Korea, Thailand, India, and Vietnam are well represented by their people and have their own products.

The China (Shenzhen) International Cultural Industries Fair (ICIF) is hosted by Ministry of Culture of the People’s Republic of China, and the Ministry of Commerce among others and is held in Shenzhen at the Shenzen Convention & Exhibition Center. It features exhibitions from 42 countries and 130 institutions and over 21,386 overseas buyers attend the event. This year it is taking between May 16th – 20th, 2019.

The Ministry of Industry, Trade And Cooperatives and the Kenyan Embassy in China should be taken to task for this misrepresentation. They should ensure that future editions of the fair feature genuine Kenyan representation.

This is not the first time that Kenya has waded in such representation controversy. In 2013, Venice Biennale was marred with confusion after eight Chinese artists represented Kenya at the premier arts events. The Kenyan pavilion was curated by an Italian, Paola Poponi, had only two Kenyan artists, Kivuthi Mbuno, Chrispus Wangombe Wachira, and eight Chinese artists. In 2015, Kenya’s participation at the event was cancelled after only one Kenyan artist was selected for the exhibition while the rest of the artists were Chinese. The artists had been selected by Italians Paola Paponi and Sandro Orlandi Stagl.