Category: Artwork critiques

Bayimba Jinja: Crowd-pullers wanted

There was that general feeling that the Bayimba Festival in Jinja had not been advertised enough, hence the slow attendance of people. Festivals are supposed to give you that sense of excitement and belonging. It’s hard to get that with a scanty number of people. That aside, the sound of music of its own is bound to bring you numbers since the event was in a public space and considering that shs 1000 is not a lot to pay. On this occasion, there was something missing in the music acts that performed. This festival needed at least one or two big names that are certain crowd-pullers to uplift the mood of the festival.

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Debunking the Chinua Achebe legacy

Unarguably he was one of the most-read writers from the African continent, selling more than 8 million copies. His book Things Fall Apart is the most widely read book in African literature and the most translated. While a whirlwind of tributes has poured in in the wake of Achebe’s death, we have been left to ponder his contributions to African literature and the literature body generally, and to see if he rightfully deserved the continent’s honor: The father of modern African literature. And while at it, also weigh the relevance of his work to the present generation.

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The Ernst May Exhibition at the Uganda Museum

KCCA’s struggle to transform Kampala into an international city has not been without its squabbles. The December altercations involving the business community in Centenary Park and KCCA went almost viral. Against such a background came the Ernst May Exhibition on 9th April this year at the Uganda Museum. It was organized by the Germany Embassy and designed as a tribute to the rapidly expanding and modernizing city of Kampala.

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Sketching a Civilisation: Graphic records of unfinished ideas

“The very images themselves are still under construction — as rapidly as a freehand drawing — because each time someone sees one, s/he will add something, omit another thing, and form a memory that they will continue to work on in their minds. This is how we are all not the same. We don’t even see the same thing when looking at the same picture.” Ishta Nandi reviews the exhibition of Rumanzi Canon and Andrea Stultiens at Makerere Art Gallery.

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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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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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Banadda’s Marriage of Philosophy and Aesthetics

He takes no less than four months to conceive and develop an idea in his head, a process he refers to as mental sketching. It takes him a minimum of another four weeks to actualize the idea on canvas to his satisfaction. Meet Godfrey Banadda, a second-generation modern artist that has led a distinguished career in painting, exploring a diversity of themes that essentially question the mysteries of nature and culture.

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Qwela’s Afrotopia album

“What I like about Afrotopia is the assertively used indigenous instruments like the akogo, the nanga and the tube fiddle. When I compare Afrotopia, though, to another Ugandan album; Sipping From the River Nile by Tshila from 2008; it falls short. In this album by Tshila, being very similar in style to Afrotopia, the wealth of syncopation, rhythm and sound is consistent within every individual song. This quality is especially lacking in Afrotopia.” Pamela Acaye reviews.

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Pragmo and Lillian Mbabazi’s danger concert

“Serena swimming pool area was the venue for this unlikely musical pairing, Pragmo and Lillian Mbabazi, even though as it turned out, they were not so different after all. The deemed lights, sound of the waterfall and even that of the frogs formed the perfect background for a quiet night out and a premonition of the style of music to expect: Jazz and soul.” Elizabeth Namakula reviews.

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Nudity? It is Artistic Expression and Free Speech (part III)

In this third and final part of a three-part essay, Angelo Kakende reviews the recent Nude 2012-exhibition at FasFas: “Nudes 2012 was different from Nude 2000, Nude 2001… It was mobilised with local resources and initiatives. This created the burden of the need to sell and recover costs. In my opinion, it is this economic incentive which affected the positions the artists took while. They treaded carefully avoiding the risk of offending anyone.”

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When group exhibitions fall short on competence and innovation

Many artists will gush at the opportunity of participating in a group exhibition, especially when it is held in a non-traditional art space like a hotel or an open space. The excitement comes from the fact that they are going to make a good killing with their art. Unfortunately, many times the artists compromise a lot on quality—often the work is not good enough—and as such it affects the whole idea of creativity, competence and innovation.

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The Book of Kirya: Songs written in the future about the past

Iwaya reviews the latest Murica Kirya-album “The Book of Kirya” for startjournal.org. “More than anything else, Book of Kirya is about helping others. If Misubbaawa was about lighting the candle, Book is about demonstrating to the whole world of onlookers that the light has not gone out. It is still shinning, bringing light, and if you bring your light, like Kirya is trying, like in Mulembe gwa Kirya, this light can become a fire, a blaze, an unstoppable inferno.”

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Museveni’s children and their splintered voices in ‘Broken Voices of the Revolution’

The Lantern Meet of Poets is made up of mostly university students who share one thing in common. They were born in the 1980’s—at the time when the National Resistance Army (NRA), now the National Resistance Movement (NRM), allegedly liberated this country from bad governance. During this first themed recital and performance, they sounded out their splintered voices from within the revolution. The writing, though familiarly presented, managed to achieve a simmering hyper-realism in the audience.

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Nudity? It is Artistic Expression and Free Speech (part II)

In this second part of a three-part essay, Angelo Kakende reviews many of the paintings depicted in Nude 2000 and Nude 2001: “In summing up, Nude 2001 grew from the success of Nude 2000; the two shows had a common agenda of mystifying the naked body. I however submit that that is not what is should be remembered for. In my opinion, it should be remembered for providing an occasion of the artists to explore the nude for art and for purposes of contributing to socio-political discussions in the country.”

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Dance Transmissions Festival 2012: A dialogue in dance

The 3rd Dance Transmissions Festival (DTF) 2012 began in earnest with a flashmob of dancers who were new to contemporary dance as the opening act. It was a chance for new entrants to the genre to get an experience of what it means to be a contemporary dancer. Samuel Lutaaya, a dancer and choreographer himself, reviews DTF ’12 for startjournal.org, and explains why some pieces worked while other failed.

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