12 Chiefs with the Same Face: A Formal Analysis of the Maji Maji War Heroes’ Statues

Dominicus Zimanimoto Makukula

Abstract


Abstract This research addresses artistic ineptitude in historical preservation through public art. Its main objective is to argue for exceptional artistry and proper regulation of public art created for national historical preservation and promotion. Besides, this study investigates procedures followed before the creation and installation of public artwork(s) intended to preserve and promote national history in Tanzania. During the study, interviews, questionnaires, and observation methods were used to collect data. Meanwhile, the Formalism Theory informed data analysis and presentation. The findings show that all the 12 Busts installed at the Maji Maji Memorial Museum in the Songea district were ineptly designed and created. In fact, they were neither vetted by experts nor regulated before and after installation at the site. This oversight has resulted in substandard artworks, which constitute a travesty to the projection of the Maji Maji war heroes’ history while undermining the value of these busts in preserving and promoting the visual history of early anti-colonial struggles in the East African country. Moreover, these apparent artistic flaws have reduced the busts’ aesthetics value, thus generating low government, public interest, comprehension, and appreciation of the visual arts in facilitating effective conservation and promotion of national history and heritage. Thus, there is an urgent need for policymakers to consider viable and plausible artistic approaches to national history and cultural heritage conservation and promotion projects nationally and internationally in addition to enhancing local and international audiences for wider benefits.

 

Keywords Art, Lawrence Mtazama Gama, Maji Maji, Mashujaa, Songea, Wangoni https://dx.doi.org/10.56279/ummaj.v9i1.3


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