Category: Artwork critiques

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

In this first part of a three-part essay, Angelo Kakende relates the recent Nude 2012-exhibition at FasFas to former Nude 2000 and Nude 2001-exhibitions held at Nommo Gallery. He looks beyond the claim for the aesthetic appeal, and attends two ways in which the production and circulation of the nude in contemporary Ugandan art in general and nude exhibitions in particular fuses the line between aesthetics and pornography; art and non-art.

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Kampala Contemporary Art Festival: Setting new trends in art exhibitions

“It had never occurred to me that setting up twelve shipping containers across the city could account for a festival, but it certainly did when the shipping containers were translated into art exhibition points. This was the Kampala Contemporary Art Festival dubbed ‘12 artists, 12 locations’ and it ran from 7th-14th October with a theme ‘12 Boxes Moving’.” Elizabeth Namakula reviews.

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Nawany: A sensitive Karamojong

“Through the systematic collection and display of culture, the Milege band managed to create an integrated multiculturally diverse experience for both foreigners and native Ugandans. It beckoned to the feeling that music is truly the space of multiculturalism, that does not have neither race, class nor tribe as guide posts. Nawany is a representation of that multiculturally integrated Uganda to come.” Serubiri Moses reviews for startjournal.

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10 Lessons learned from a well-organized Bayimba

With the exception of the Laba! Arts festival, there are not so many festivals on the Ugandan calendar. So Bayimba gave us a feel of what a festival should be like. In the words of its Director Faisal Kiwewa, “Celebrating the feeling of belonging and experiencing the freedom of culturality.” And while at it, celebrate culture in all its diversity, so it seemed. Elizabeth Namakula reviews the Bayimba.

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Fun factory: Cracking a rib

Fun Factory visited the Bayimba Festival for the first time, and their debut was one of the most anticipated shows. The group performed to thunderous laughter and applause. To celebrate Uganda’s Golden Jubilee, Fun Factory will also stage 50 skits across two nights called “50 years of madness”. Elizabeth Namakula reviews.

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To Die a Martyr: The story of a Ugandan Tragicomedy

“Throughout the narrative, are weaved metaphors in the form of rain—which ironically pours outside for the duration of the play—rivers tying each scene to the next, like a powerful memory.” A review of The River and the Mountain, a play written by Beau Hopkins, directed and executive produced by Angella Emurwon and produced by David Cecil of Tilapia Culture, by Serubiri Moses.

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DaudiMzili Twin Exhibition: A Dichotomy of Creativity or Paradox of Mutual Confusion?

“Having attended the same university and only separated by a handful of years; having exhibited in nearly the same galleries and influenced by the same patronage system, this pair comes across as archetypal artistic bedfellows. They seem to have suckled from the same breast of contemporary art awareness and their styles are scarcely singular.” Nathan Kiwere reviews Daudimzili for Startjournal.

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The Ugandan Paradox: A rich country of poor people

Joachim Buwembo claims that he wrote The Ugandan Paradox to be able take part in the bonanza of cash squandering sure to ensue as government heads the celebrations of Uganda marking 50 years of Independence. In this book review, Iwaya Mataachi concludes that “The Ugandan Paradox is about a Uganda in decay, with a hero scarcity. All the people Joachim Buwembo meets know something is going wrong, and Buwembo himself understands this more than others.”

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Color, participation and art at the LaBa! Street Art Festival

What happens when over 200 artists, painters, dancers, musicians, sculptors, fashion designers, and photographers come together in what has become a yearly festival of art? Throw in the angle of celebrating Uganda’s 50 years of independence and what do you have? A blazing hub of activity, color competition for the eyes, music for the ears, perplexity and appreciation for the mind, and inspiration for the heart.

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Curating the Acoustics Sessions

The Acoustics Sessions at MishMash, a monthly night that began running in January of this year, showcases undiscovered musicians who, despite having technical and musical proficiency in music, are not confident enough to stand up for it. Serubiri Moses reviews the music event and goes behind the scenes to talk to its curators.

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Felix Magima: Just the eyes

Felix Magima confronts two important, though rarely addressed, subjects in his recent exhibition at the AKA Gallery; women and religion. As his artworks speak, they often wade into taboo territories, therefore observing a new place, rarely approached by visual artists in Uganda. His new paintings “scream out” for freedom for women and the poor enslaved by religious commercialism. Serubiri Moses reviews for Startjournal.

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Jane Bussmann: The comedy of tragedies

The British comedian and author Jane Bussmann recently did her stage performance of the book ‘The Worst Date Ever (or How It Took a Comedy Writer to Expose Africa’s Secret War)’ at MishMash, Kampala in front of a 600-strong crowd. By turns, her story was pathetic, funny and heartbreaking. Ugandan columnist Mildred Apenyo reviews for Startjournal: “To make art out of tragedy is a hard but essential thing. To make comedy out of sadness is more than essential.”

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Edison Mugalu’s art: The serendipity of success

“I have been following the trends in Uganda’s visual environment in the last decade, with keen interest and I have noted something rather distinct. While the events in art that made headlines in the period of economic recovery (1986-2000) were led by seasoned artists with predictable results, those in the last decade have been dominated by younger artists most of whom in the early stages of their careers. … Edison Mugalu typifies this cadre of younger artists who have taken to making art as their full time employment and many have made a success of it. Their work exhibit a bold and aggressive attitude which is also reflected in their marketing strategies.” Professor George Kyeyune reviews Mugalu’s work for startjournal.

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The Lure of Poetry

At an evening of poetry to commemorate the month long US celebration of the Black History Month in February at the Makerere University Institute of Technology, poetry took on a new meaning, that of being a mouth piece for social change. Elizabeth Namakula reviews this event and also looks at the Lantern Meet of Poets at the National Theatre March 17th.

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Olubugo Reloaded: The push towards a new awareness

The exhibition ‘Olubugo Reloaded’ at FAS FAS Gallery is important because it presents artworks based on the bark cloth material with a focus on what place it has in Uganda and within the contemporary arts of Uganda. Art lecturer in fibers and weaving, Lesli Robertson of the University of North Texas, continues to see that bark cloth is finding stronger ground every year and it is through the work of Ugandan artists and designers that this material continues to elevate its place within contemporary art.

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Different But One 16: A Story without End

“Different But One, for the last fifteen years, has provided artists a platform for visual artistic expressions that are increasingly dynamic and provocative. This annual event has also given artists the chance to continually keep their talent alive. This year’s Different But One had a visual exuberance to me which led me to compare it to the “jumping the broom” ceremony; a joyful entry into a new life together as artists—male and female, old and young, modern and figurative, abstract and narrative. We, the viewers, are participants of the renewed energy and commitment of Makerere Faculty’s vision and fine arts.” Maria Alawua reviews.

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Nneka: The Soul Dynamite

Nneka stepped onto the stage twenty minutes to eleven and performed ecstatically for a full hour with a few interludes here and there. Decked in a white African top, brown pants, a blue jeans jacket and a Kitenge sash tied around her waist, she unleashed soul, pure and undiluted. “Take, swallow, digest and be inspired,” were her words as she kicked off the show. And on that promise, she delivered.

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