Category: Artwork critiques

Transmission at the Kampala Biennale

“There is no contemporary art in Uganda”, remarked independent curator Simon Njami two years ago when he visited Uganda. The outrageous remark stirred up a storm on the Kampala art scene which the perpetrator has ignited at this year’s Kampala Biennale. Seemingly to assert his earlier claim, Njami, the curator of the third edition of the event has invited seven established renowned international artists to set up their studios in Kampala to tutor young artists, to introduce ‘contemporary’ art to Kampala. Matt Kayem was apprentice in KAB18 and participant of the British Council funded critical art writing workshop. He asked himself: did any transmission take place?

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Art Crossroads with Ugandan Mastery – Interview with Dr. Kyeyune

In anticipation of a busy creative art season kicking off in August 2018 and the KAB18’s “The Studio” concept launched recently, many contemporary artists and audiences lurk within corridors in search of the creative voice of Makerere Art Gallery amidst the prevailing visual discourse. Philip Balimunsi interviews Professor George Kyeyune, Director of Makerere Art Gallery/Institute of Heritage Conservation and Restoration, about contemporary issues in Uganda. Kyeyune asserts the cultural affluence of Makerere Art Gallery in the East African arts scene.

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African Art History and the Formation of a Modern Aesthetic

The research project “African Art History and the Formation of a Modern Aesthetic” examines artworks of African Modernisms housed in museum collections. This first set of contributions for Start – Journal of Arts and Culture is the result of a public symposium at the Uganda National Museum in 2016 held as fringe event of the Kampala Art Biennale. In the coming months, the series will be continued with papers on a variety of topics related to African Modernisms and its contemporary relevance.

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There is little I can say about Canon that he would agree with

Canon should be described as an artist before a photographer. From both his art and being in his company it is undeniable that he is one of the most uncompromising people I have ever met. Attempting to present Canon has proven to be the most challenging part of a longer study on Kampala’s urban photographers and artists and I feel that it is necessary to disclaim the highly subjective nature of my attempts to do so. – By Alex L. Rogerson

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Encounters with Art: The Inaugural Children’s Book Illustrator’s Exhibition

Think back to that moment when you first realized the possibility of any art form. As a writer, I easily trace that back to reading as a child. I still believe that the worlds I explored through books, the lives I lived through books, have made all the difference in who I am and what I do as an adult. Gloria Kiconco attended the first ever Children’s Book Illustrator’s Exhibition at Design Hub Kampala.

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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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‘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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George Kyeyune’s ‘Quiet Dignity’ repeats subject matter, pushes subtle boundaries

“It was at the beginning of the millennium, just before I went for my PhD that I started seriously painting,” Kyeyune narrated in an interview with the writer. In this time, he pursued painting in order to realise himself as an artist. However, like many others faced with the reality of living as an artist, he created more to sell than he created for himself. He confessed that his past exhibitions were not usually pre-meditated, but rather he was approached by gallery managers and owners to present his work regardless of whether or not the collection was cohesive.
“Quiet Dignity” was his escape from this trap. It was a planned exhibition toward which he worked with two goals: to present his findings on the use of modelling wax created from locally available materials and to re-launch himself into studio practice where he could create, not for a client, but for himself.

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Art collecting supports Art

Uganda’s art collectors are famously business men, art managers, foreign expatriates and artists themselves. In the past five years, there has been a surge in the buying art because of an increased number of artists on the local art scene, an influx of art galleries and organizations opening around Kampala, heightened exposure to the global art market and last but not least, political stability.

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Demystifying African art Primitivism on Global art scene

The debate whether African art belongs in Global Exhibitions is one that dominates many art forums across the continent and beyond today. Artists, in a bid to assert their position in this era of globalization and emerge as international citizens have continuously produced artworks that tackle global themes like Environmental conservation, Recycling, Consumption , Material culture, Corruption, Gender & Sexuality and Feminism.

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Students and Masters

By Eria Nsubuga   Twelve students from Nkumba University’s School of Commercial Industrial Art and Design (SCIAD) collaborated to produce a piece inspired by European masters. How did they choose the Picasso and van Gogh? As their supervisor, I tasked

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Abanene

The small community that patronises our art, usually constituting diplomats, expatriates and tourists, is not sustainable. They have set for us a standard formula to use in order to satisfy their appetites.

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