Author: start

Re-reading the Warps and Wefts in Trowell’s Mother and Child Print: Debates and Contests

Margaret Trowell has been called the ‘mother of contemporary art in Uganda and a feminist’ (Tumusiime 2012). This is because in the mid-1930s she introduced the teaching of contemporary art at Makerere University and wrote widely on issues concerning family, women and children. On the other hand, she also created art though only few of her artworks are in Uganda. However, on my part I am interested in a lino print, entitled Mother and Child (1940s), whose visual archive I have accessed through George Kyeyune (2003) and Angelo Kakande (2008). The print captures a dominant sitting mother-figure wrapped in white cloth and nursing a child. Trowell’s print seems to suggest the earliest expressions of her self-activism to emancipate mothers and children through modern art. I re-read Trowell’s Mother and Child and its multiplicity of meanings. I re-engage it to retrace the threads of the colonial hegemony that wove together Trowell’s instruction of modern art in Uganda. This debate is essential. It sets the gendered pedestal on which contemporary art in Uganda was born and became interlaced with – to use Trowell’s words – ‘warps and wefts’ (Trowell 1957) This paper, therefore, marks our entry into the gendered discourses that have continued to shape Uganda’s modern art to the present.

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Editorial: Returning to the archive: It is still rich, accessible and usable!

This issue demonstrates that the available archive of the history of Uganda’s visual culture is still rich, accessible and usable. However, it could shape a conversation on the country’s creative discourse if (and only if) we looked at it again and looked at it hard enough. Dr. Angello Kakande gives an overview of the articles in this Feb – May 2017 Issue.

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The Art of Appropriation: The Ready-made through the Eyes of Matt Kayem

Visual artist Matt Kayem explores the concept of found object art and appropriation in art and talke about his own installation at the Kampala Art Biennale. It makes everything look easy but it requires an eye for aesthetics, and a creative mind to choose an item to speak volumes. The process of selection is a tedious one as the artist has to think and look for an object that will best represent and communicate their concept.

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Global Connections: Elise Atangana on 2nd Kampala Art Biennale

By Moses Serubiri. The Kampala Art Biennale emerged in 2014, organized by the Kampala Arts Trust. It was billed erroneously as the “first biennale in Africa” in the Observer newspaper. Not surprisingly, the biennale was isolated from the Kampala Contemporary Art Festival – KLA ART, its predecessor in 2012. The Kampala Art Biennale premier edition, held at the Uganda Museum, was themed Progressive Africa, and its artistic director was artist-educator Henry Mzili Mujunga. While the first edition embodied a Pan-African spirit of artistic production, it contradictorily relied on the notion of “tourism”—one of the very funny comments I overheard at the opening was when a panelist compared art sales to gorilla mountain treks. Regardless, the biennale seemed to draw quite a lot of local press and drew in large crowds who came to see the Pan-African selection of artworks on display. This year, Moses Serubiri talks to the curator of the 2nd Kampala Biennale, Elise Atanganga.

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Editorial: Start Journal Re-imagined

By Assoc. Prof. George Kyeyune
Start Journal of Arts and Culture is coming back after a break of almost a year. The break was necessary for its internal adjustment and re-organisation to set it on a new footing. It now has a new editorial team that constitutes high profile Africanists: Prof. Sidney Littlefield Kasfir, Assoc. Prof. George Kyeyune, Dr. Angelo Kakande and Ms. Margaret Nagawa.

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Art and the “Ghost” of “Military Dictatorship”: Expressions of Dictatorship in Post-1986 Contemporary Ugandan Art

By Angelo Kakande. Although military dictatorship has distorted governance, the rule of law and constitutionalism, and caused fear, hopelessness, loss of life and property throughout Uganda’s post-colonial history, it is also a rich and productive metaphor whose visual expression is steeped in a corrupted Western concept[ion] of modern public opinion. In this article I engage this proposition to re-examine selected artworks in the context of Uganda’s socio-political history in the period 1986-2016 – a period of Uganda’s history dominated by the ruling National Resistance Movement (also called the NRM).

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Seeking that Coveted Photography Award

By Miriam Namutebi. I am a photographer. I love what I do. My journey in photography started when I excelled in my senior six examinations at the age of 18. My Dad rewarded me with a Fuji Film S200EXR camera. Up to today, I don’t know what led him to that choice for a gift. I immediately started using my camera and every photograph I took introduced me to a new world. I loved that.

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On the Role of Curatorial Assistant, Kampala Art Biennale 2016

By Martha Kazungu. In August 2016, during a meeting where I was invited to be part of the team to share ideas on how to re-establish and run the Start Art journal, artist Margaret Nagawa, who is also the pioneering person in the effort to revamp Start Art Journal, suggested to me to develop a short narrative essay talking about my role as Curatorial Assistant in the 2016 Kampala Art Biennale.

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‘Dads’ – Report on Dads photography exhibition at the National Theatre

By Philip Balimunsi. This article summaries the experience of audiences to the Dads exhibition and their general response collected through comments. Further still the article seeks to analyse the exhibition development process and the reaction of viewers in relation to the topic of positive masculinity. Providing a platform to future festival visual conversations, the photography exhibition idea was developed between Bayimba International Festival of the arts and the Swedish Embassy in Kampala to contribute to the greater festival conversation of 2016.

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Kiln Remodeling and its Use with Bizen-like Pottery Firing Techniques

This paper presents the practical processes of remodeling and using a kiln in the Ceramics studio at the Margaret Trowell School of Industrial and Fine arts, Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. The effectiveness of a kiln is dependent on its design, ability to preserve heat by minimizing heat loss, and the capacity to be economical with fuel. The kiln in the ceramics department used waste oil for firing. During my postgraduate studies spanning 5 years in Japan, I studied and worked with wood kilns – building them and firing in them. Upon returning to Uganda in 2015 with this experience, I was able to identify some of the problems associated with Makerere Art School’s waste oil fired kiln and its hardships.

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transFORM#1: A conversation with Afriart Gallery Art director Daudi Karungi

The transFORM #1 Contemporary Art Experience is happening this Saturday 5th December at a warehouse behind the Nakumatt in Bukoto. The event, which is organised in partnership with the Goethe Zentrum Kampala, is widely advertised in the media as an art experience with exhibition and after party with South African DJs. Startjournal met with the organiser Daudi Karungi to find out what was the rational behind the event.

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