Month: March 2013

Producing Culture on Twitter: Is it Ugandan?

From the exposure many Ugandan musicians such as Navio, The Mith, Keko, Lillian Mbabazi and Maurice Kirya are receiving on Twitter, it would not be inappropriate to say that popular Ugandan music is experiencing a boom in Africa. Unfortunately, this has exposed their largely Western aspirations, creating the daunting questions such as: Who is the audience on Twitter? Which culture does one produce for? And, is it possible to produce a cultural following on Twitter?

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Secolliville: An imaginary city in the public space

Secolliville is an imaginary city created by artist Collin Sekajugo and is much inspired by the philosophy of Albert Einstein—“Imagination is better than knowledge”. Backed with the motto “Where things are as they could be” the artist is the performer in this city—the public space—where he’s conveying a particular message depending on the theme he has chosen for the morning. His performances are interactive, intelligent and creative.

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The International Women’s day Festival

On March 8th, one couldn’t help but wonder how art would be used to celebrate such an interesting phenomenon of the human race. Would it call for a sculpture of the woman in all her glory, a painting of her most-prized assets? Or how she embraces art in her day-to-day life to make it comfortable for herself and her loved ones? Certainly for the international celebrations of the Women’s day at the Sheraton, the answer lay in this last one. The theme of the festival was how independent is the Ugandan Woman? A retrospect of the past 50 years, present and future perspectives.

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Censorship and the Arts in Uganda

“As the eighth edition of the Wazo Talking Arts proved, while the expectation is of artists to be at the forefront of debate and to challenge the status quo, artists are also a product of their culture, religion, and politics; their work cannot be separated from their experience. In other words artists are human beings, artists can be frightened, and artists can be ideologically conservative or liberal. If there is one attribute that artists need to create meaningful, challenging, even great work in the face of possible censorship, then that attribute is courage.” Farida Nabalozi reflects on Censorship and the Arts in Uganda.

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Talking happiness in love with Edison Mugalu

“This exhibition at Umoja Art Gallery in Kamwokya was Mugalu’s clear and heartfelt contribution to a day some people love to love and others love to hate: Valentine’s Day. The reason why some people love to hate the day is not hard to fathom. It’s the high expectations and demands that lovers place on each other which are rarely meant. … This is why Mugalu’s message was all the more relevant.” Elizabeth Namakula reviews.

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The harsh rebirth of professional theatre in Uganda

“The 1970s were for Uganda the years when the lights started to go out. In the ranks of Ugandans who had fled the country, and who never made it out of the decade, and a big rank it was, dramatists were among the number. Soldiers appeared at the National Theatre in 1977 and dragged then director of the National Theatre, Byron Kawadwa from rehearsals. A military tribunal had in secret passed a death sentence on him and five of his colleagues.” AK Kaiza reflects on the recent history of theatres in Uganda.

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The influence of ancient drum practices on contemporary music

African societies, since time immemorial, have always been moved by the sound of the drum. Communication and celebration with percussions were norms within our numerous cultural contexts. Drums in African traditional societies were sources of identity that distinguished various social groupings. Samuel Lutaaya has interviewed Brian Magoba to learn how drums have been used in contemporary pop music compared to traditional music.

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The Collection Bug

As the global economy goes through turbulent times, it is becoming clear that art is regarded as one of the few investments which people regard as a safe bet. But, there’s more to art than money, despite the relationship the two are often seen as having. Local art collections and sales are on the rise, and with an increasing population of young, upwardly-mobile people looking to culture as a hobby, Anna Kućma sets out to discover the motivations driving several local collectors.

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Free Expression by Mzili: For the love of a nation

“Politicians in the developed world understand the importance of culture in defining a people. So they support the museums, galleries, theatres and the other public cultural institutions. In Uganda, it is the opposite. The musicians, artists, playwrights and comedians are on their own. They work tirelessly propagating what is unique and definitive about their country.” Henry Mzili Mujunga speaks out.

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