Music Into Colour is a commission from RaMoMA (Rahimtulla
Museum of Modern Art) to feature as part of its
exhibition True Colours held in September 2005,
and later transferred to the Alliance Francaise.
of True Colours, Pat Keay, identified 24 artists in Kenya whom she felt
made colour the prime element in their work, or employed it to heighten mood or
create tension in their paintings. A group of children from RaMoMA Gallery’s
education programme helped in the random selection of a colour for each artist.
The paintings in the exhibition are the artists’ responses to the colour given
to them – an emotional response to the colour, a reaction against it, or simply
a creation using tints, shades and variations of the colour.
“The brighter the colour,
the higher the sound” – musicians often describe sounds in terms of brightness.
Metal percussion sounds are usually bright (but less bright if they are farther
away). The notes of the bassoon tend to be dark. The voices of humans and birds
provide everything across the whole spectrum – especially if you ask the birds
to speak very slowly.
As a starting point for
creating the music, four of the artists exhibiting in True Colours were
interviewed about their work and about the relationship between sound and
colour. The result was a composite text that became a poem, a story, a song, a
quotation, a comment, a suggestion, a soundscape, a rhythm... all about colour.
The resulting soundtrack
included a short piece for three musicians and tape, performed live at the
exhibition opening, and a longer piece for tape, to be played at regular
intervals for the duration of the exhibition.
These pieces have
subsequently been made into a CD featuring the work of Kenyan artist Emily
Odongo as part of the sleeve design. A DVD featuring the music and the
paintings may be created at a later date.
To listen to excerpts from other works, visit the