Nature, beauty, creativity: A glimpse into the artistic side of Zanzibar

In this photo essay from Zanzibar in East Africa, we showcase creative artworks as well as curator insights on creativity.

Nature, beauty, creativity: A glimpse into the artistic side of Zanzibar

Sunday September 17, 2023,

3 min Read

Launched in 2014, PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 720 posts, we featured an art festival, cartoon gallery, world music festivaltelecom expomillets fair, climate change expo, wildlife conference, startup festival, Diwali rangoli, and jazz festival.

The beauty of Zanzibar makes the island a work of art in itself. Artists, designers, artisans, and architects have taken creativity to another level altogether, as shown in this photo essay.

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My travels to Africa as conference chair for Extensia’s digital summits took me this month to Tanzania. I had a chance to experience the dynamic energy of the region’s ICT sector as well as the creativity of the artistic community in Zanzibar.

In this photo essay, we showcase some of the natural beauty of the islands, stunning resorts, crafts studios in the alleyways of Stone Town and the Forster Gallery in Mbweni.

“I have been living and working in Tanzania for the last 15 years. In 2008, I opened the Art Hotel Zanzibar to make it possible to experience African art and culture in a new way,” gallery founder Markus Forster tells YourStory.


He then went on to found the Forster Gallery Zanzibar, which includes a fully equipped workplace for local artists. Promoted artists, some of whose works are featured in this photo essay, include David Mzuguno, ES Tinga Tinga, George Lilanga, Hendrick Lilanga, Raja Oshi, and Michael Soi.

The gallery has also hosted exhibitions titled Tanzanian Masters, Zanzibar Inspirations, Shadow and Light, Landscapes and Beaches, and I Have Something to Say.

Forster has a background in social pedagogy and has worked with children who have special needs. He also worked in the development sector as a management trainer for non-profit organisations.

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His love for art led him to launch Forster Gallery in 2017. The gallery mentors artists and helps place their works in international markets.

The gallery has over 100 artworks in stock and has promoted the paintings of 15 artists in recent years. “We cover all costs of the artists in residence,” Forster says.

“Being an artist in emerging economies is tough–many artists take on side jobs to sustain themselves till they find success,” he observes.


His gallery helps artists source quality materials like paints and canvases. “Don’t be intimidated by art,” Forster advises aspiring artists and audiences.

“Long-term success in art calls for patience in the job and interest in people,” he adds. “Artists also need to be coachable and take advice if they want to understand different markets,” Forster signs off.

Now what have you done today to pause in your busy schedule and showcase the breadth of your creative side?


(All photographs taken by Madanmohan Rao on location in Zanzibar.)

See also the YourStory pocketbook ‘Proverbs and Quotes for Entrepreneurs: A World of Inspiration for Startups,’ accessible as apps for Apple and Android devices.

Edited by Suman Singh