Nairobi: The National Museum inaugurated on Monday Oman Gallery at the Nairobi National Museum in Kenya, as an embodiment of the common history and cultural heritage between the two countries.
The gallery, titled “Oman-Kenya: A Collective Memory”, is divided into four main sections, which are: Ancient South Arabian Kingdom, Omani influence at the East African Coast, development of Omani Kingdoms and dynasties, and key Omani personalities at the East African Coast. Jamal Hassan Al Moosawi, Secretary General of the National Museum, said that the opening of Oman Gallery at the Nairobi National Museum comes within the framework of cultural diplomacy pursued by the National Museum, and based on the memorandum of partnership that was signed last year in 2022 at Muscat.
Al Moosawi added that the exhibited collections focus on the cultural and historical aspects of the Sultanate of Oman and its strong historical relations with the East African coast, which trace their roots back to the first century all the way to the present day. The collection, he said, embodies the impact of Omani integration into the East African coast in terms of economic, social, cultural and political aspects, which led to the establishment of cities along the East African coast.
Said Mohammed Al Amri, Charge D’affaires of Oman’s embassy in Nairobi said that the inauguration of the gallery is the result of the efforts and the cooperation between the two countries. The move, he added, contributes to boosting the deep rooted bilateral relations by displaying and preserving mutual heritage.
Oman Gallery celebrates the historical and cultural ties between the Sultanate of Oman and the Republic of Kenya. It offers a glimpse into the various kingdoms and dynasties in Southern Arabia and East Africa, with a reflection on notable Omani personalities. The gallery includes a collection of selected artefacts, including a compilation of Prose in Marine Sciences “Sufalia, Moa’lakiya and Alttayiya” by the author and copyist Ahmed bin Majid Al Sa’adi dating back to the 16th century.
The manuscript provides an in-depth understanding of the sciences of the navigator Ahmed bin Majid Al Sa’adi on the coast of East Africa, in addition to a lithograph depicting Swahili people from the book “Documents on History, Geography and Trade in East Africa” by Charles Guillain dating back to 1857.
The selected artefacts include a letter holder belonging to Sayyid Sir Ali bin Salim Al Busaidi with depictions of key architectural features of Zanzibar made of silver, gold, and copper, dating back to 7 November 1932. Those also include an article titled “Be Where You Want” about a poem written by Sheikh Abdullah bin Saleh Al Farsi and presented on the occasion of the National Day of Sultan Khalifa bin Harib Al Busaidi. It was part of Al Nahda newspaper’s issues on 2 September 1954.
Moreover, the collection also comprises a facsimile of a single volume translation of the meanings of the Holy Quran into the Swahili Language. The single volume is a third edition which dates back to 1969. It was translated by Chief Justice Sheikh Abdullah Saleh Al Farsi and published by The Islamic Foundation in the Republic of Kenya. The collection contains a letter holder presented by The Arab Community of Kenya to Sheikh Sir Mubarak bin Ali Al Hinawy, on the occasion of being knighted in 1959.
It is worth noting that the Nairobi National Museum showcases Kenya’s rich heritage with four distinct themes representing the country’s culture, nature, history and contemporary art. Other attractions within the museum include the Snake Park and Botanical Gardens, as well as a state-of-the-art ballroom. The museum also includes exhibits that indicate the new and ancient civilization of Kenya.