Trust for African Rock Art: Lamu Island Collection
The Lamu Island Collection of the Trust for African Rock Art (TARA) includes photographs taken by David Coulson and came out of his photographic contribution to the volume, 'Lamu: Kenya's Enchanted Island'(2009) by George and Lorna Abungu, along with Carol Beckwith, Angela Fisher and Nigel Pavitt. These images depict Swahili life and culture, a culture which has been evolving since the 7th century, AD. Lamu, one of Kenya's original Swahili settlements, is located in the Lamu Archipelago, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This town provides us a glimpse of how the various cultural influences of Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and Asia combined to form Swahili society.
This rich history is reflected in the language, art, cuisine, architecture, and social practices in Lamu. The photographs in the Lamu Island Collection capture elements of Lamu's material culture architectural elements, imported porcelain plates and other household items, Swahili art and design reflected in everyday objects as well as Swahili social custom and practice. They also offer context to the geo-informatics data provided by the Heinz Ruther Collection on Lamu: Lamu Fort, Lamu Town, the Shela Mosque, and Takwa.