Category: Artist interviews

Bruno Ruganzu: Winner of the TED Prize City 2.0 in Doha

On 17th April 2012, in Doha, Bruno Ruganzu was announced winner of the TEDx competition TED Prize for City 2.0 at the TEDx Summit in Qatar. City 2.0 is about creating ideas that can change your city. Innovation, education, culture and economic opportunity were its key fundamentals. Among the five finalists from Egypt, Canada, South Africa and Pakistani, Bruno had only two minutes to raise the Ugandan flag high.

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History In Progress: Ugandan photo opportunities

Uganda, the state, will be 50 years old on October 9. That is the history book record. However, a private photo collection that started life as a Facebook archive venture is challenging that version of events. Most times, unintentionally. By the simple act of dredging up visual records from 100 years ago of life in the area that is now geographically registered as Uganda, History in Progress Uganda (HIP) is forcing a re-think of what it means to be Ugandan and where Uganda come from.

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Freeing the audience: Women in live music

At the beginning of February, an unusual concert was staged at the Goethe Institute in Kampala, headlined by Nneka, the world renowned young African icon. She was accompanied by five Ugandan female artists, including Ife Piankhi, a popular poet and jazz singer in town, and Tshila, a crossover Afro Soul icon. Serubiri Moses has talked to these two artists and Roshan Karmali about whether artists’ gender really matters.

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Outlook 2012: Six leading Ugandan arts and culture professionals share their visions

Faisal Kiwewa, Director of Bayimba Cultural Foundation, Adong Judith Lucy, a renowned playwright, film maker and arts practitioner, John Bosco Kyabaggu, production manager at the Uganda National Cultural Centre, Ronex Ahimbisibwe, a renowned visual artist, Maurice Kirya, musician and brainchild of the Maurice Kirya Experience, and Joel Sebunjo, acclaimed Ugandan world music artist, all share some thoughts about 2011 and 2012.

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Sam Ibanda: Spreading the passion for Ugandan contemporary dance

Uganda has more than 50 tribes. Each of these has a dance that defines them. It is from this rich pool that dancers like Sam Ibanda can create great dances to weave into contemporary routines. Other dancers have introduced traditional dance into their patterns to great effect. Ibanda has learnt well that when he travels out to present to an international audience, he will have to be original. Contemporary dance from Uganda must be truly an identity.

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Vision for Africa Pottery Workshop: A case study for traditional African design

Carola Tengler is a ceramicist who spent her career making and teaching pottery in Austria, her home country. In 2003, she joined the Vision for Africa project in Mukono district, Uganda. Carola’s vision is to bring value and expertise to the traditional African forms and patterns as manifested in the field of pottery. She argues that there is a traditional African form and design that is unique to Africa, and therefore must be uplifted and used to create unique works and not works that are trying to copy other cultures’ ideals.

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The Butterfly Effect: An interview with Caine Prize-nominee Beatrice Lamwaka

The story Butterfly Effect was written by Beatrice Lamwaka, and was short-listed for the 2011 Caine Prize for African writing, a prize that many writers on the continent aspire to win. The nominaton has strengthened Beatrice’s belief in herself as a writer. However, when she writes, she says it is important she does it without the conscious nagging of being a short-listed winner of this prestigious prize.

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The bright tones of Katanga

Photography in Uganda has for many years been shrouded in darkness. It is an aspect of visual arts rarely talked about and largely thought to be a preserve for journalists. Even then, photo journalists are never celebrated as such because they are often accused of treating their subject matter as objects; often doctoring the images to suit their taste and ambitions. To reverse this trend, Arthur Kisitu started the Mu Katanga project which among other things was to show the right picture of Katanga; with no distortions whatsoever.

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A woman with many artistic hats: An interview with Margaret Nagawa

Margaret Nagawa has had many roles and responsibilities participating in Uganda’s fine art world. She has been a student of fine art, a maker of fine arts, a curator, a teacher, a promoter, and a collector of fine arts. And now again, a student of fine arts! Margaret currently lives in Ethiopia but is working on her PhD from Makerere, writing her dissertation on ‘Visual Arts Dissemination and Cultural Translation in East Africa’.

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Acoustic moments: A portrait of Michael Ouma

A talented and multidimensional artist in his own right, Michael Ouma has been there and done that and lived to play the tune. His insight into music is almost legendary and gives one the sense that he plays from a totally otherworldly place compared to his peers. His passion for music and his desire to see the day when Uganda’s music and its instruments are recognized globally fuel his daily pursuit to become better at what he does.

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The Art of Self-making: An interview with Edison Mugalu

He has just finished the works for a new exhibition. This time he depicts the old walls, the street corners and narrow alleys of Zanzibar’s Stone Town. He is giving us an impression of the past days, and every brushstroke intends to teach us more about where we came from. Editor Thomas Bjørnskau talks to Edison Mugalu about his journey to become one of Uganda’s best-selling visual artists.

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The Special One: An Interview with Rose Kirumira

Rose Kirumira is one of Uganda’s most known artists abroad. Her willingness to live and work abroad has been defining her artistic career. The hunger for exposure to other cultures and inspiring visual artists has brought her to Zambia, Botswana, California, the Netherlands, Canada, China, Sweden and Denmark. Her message to fellow artists is unambiguous. ”Go out, meet other artists, talk to them and discuss art. Think of yourself as explorers. You will love moving to new places and exploring different cultures.”

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Jewels in Motion: An interview with Sanaa Gateja

Sanaa Gateja is an artist truly designed for the 21st century. His ideologies of creativity are spot on the current global consciousness. Making art by recycling man-made waste materials. Empowering craftswomen all around Uganda by sharing his skills of beadmaking. Continuously improving his artwork or jewellery by constantly innovating. And combining art forms as different as music, fashion accessories, interior decor and visual art to express a holistic milieu where authentic African culture can be experienced. Not bad for a man whose artistic journey started in the late sixties.

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The Perceptive Observer: An interview with George Kyeyune

A cow. A boda boda. A woman carrying her child in a sling. A man pushing a wooden wheelbarrow. George Kyeyune sees extraordinary stories in ordinary events.
”If I can record these moments in time as permanent images. To engage my audience. To show you our history. To provoke you and challenge you about who you are. Then I have accomplished my mission as an artist”.

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