“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?Read More >>
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.Read More >>
If there is a Ugandan artist who can readily fit into the international art circuit, there is none other than Donald August Wasswa a.k.a Waswad. The contemporary art world is always looking for new ways of expression and Waswad fulfils this with his body of work exhibited at Afriart GalleryRead More >>
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. RogersonRead More >>
“Why should an artist live and die as a pauper? Why would an artist be harshly criticized for making a living out of their gift? Why should an artist want to shift the laws of living? Why should artists not stand tall and say they want to be successful and rich?” These are the questions Matt Kayem asks himself.Read More >>
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.Read More >>
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).Read More >>
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.Read More >>
“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.
With Beautiful Imperfections, the artists continue a journey of both self and artistic exploration started when they were students of Margaret Trowell school of Fine art. Their choice to come back to exhibit here manifests the faith they have in the institution and an insatiable appetite to better themselves at every level of their artistry.Read More >>
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.Read More >>
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.Read More >>
Nairobi Half Life’s (2012) premise encapsulates the city’s nickname ‘Nairoberry’. By attempting to portray Nairobi as a city full of cliché characters: thieves, corrupt policemen, prostitutes and homosexuals, the film fails to inform us of the realities of Nairobi’s inhabitants.Read More >>