By Moses Serubiri. The Kampala Art Biennale emerged in 2014, organized by the Kampala Arts Trust. It was billed erroneously as the “first biennale in Africa” in the Observer newspaper. Not surprisingly, the biennale was isolated from the Kampala Contemporary Art Festival – KLA ART, its predecessor in 2012. The Kampala Art Biennale premier edition, held at the Uganda Museum, was themed Progressive Africa, and its artistic director was artist-educator Henry Mzili Mujunga. While the first edition embodied a Pan-African spirit of artistic production, it contradictorily relied on the notion of “tourism”—one of the very funny comments I overheard at the opening was when a panelist compared art sales to gorilla mountain treks. Regardless, the biennale seemed to draw quite a lot of local press and drew in large crowds who came to see the Pan-African selection of artworks on display. This year, Moses Serubiri talks to the curator of the 2nd Kampala Biennale, Elise Atanganga.Read More >>
The documentation and representation of an event is never objective but individual and biased. This is most apparent when you have the privilege of both, being a team member and an observer of a key art event like the KampalaRead 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 Miriam Namutebi. I am a photographer. I love what I do. My journey in photography started when I excelled in my senior six examinations at the age of 18. My Dad rewarded me with a Fuji Film S200EXR camera. Up to today, I don’t know what led him to that choice for a gift. I immediately started using my camera and every photograph I took introduced me to a new world. I loved that.Read More >>
By Martha Kazungu. In August 2016, during a meeting where I was invited to be part of the team to share ideas on how to re-establish and run the Start Art journal, artist Margaret Nagawa, who is also the pioneering person in the effort to revamp Start Art Journal, suggested to me to develop a short narrative essay talking about my role as Curatorial Assistant in the 2016 Kampala Art Biennale.Read More >>
The transFORM #1 Contemporary Art Experience is happening this Saturday 5th December at a warehouse behind the Nakumatt in Bukoto. The event, which is organised in partnership with the Goethe Zentrum Kampala, is widely advertised in the media as an art experience with exhibition and after party with South African DJs. Startjournal met with the organiser Daudi Karungi to find out what was the rational behind the event.Read More >>
What happens to Fanon’s followers during liberation? In what condition is Fanon’s nativism when revolution gives birth to independence from the terror of colonialism? How does Fanon translate to the cultural and economic development of present day Africa? Serubiri Moses turns to Eria Solomon Nsubuga’s recent exhibition for answers.Read More >>
The next big story in the Uganda contemporary art scene could be the duplicating of the painting, the thinker, by Edward Waddimba. The thinker (1993) is a series of paintings composed of a stoic human figure squatting with a hunched back with its right elbow almost supporting its right chin to create an impression of someone in a pensive mood. This painting originally painted by, Fabian Kamulu Mpagi, one of the masters of modern and contemporary art in Uganda, was duplicated in 2008 by Waddimba his former protégé.Read More >>
Nonetheless I chastised him for having not increased on the size of his format since we last met. I also wondered why he had not moved away from typical imagery of women plaiting hair, boda-boda cyclists, bare landscapes and birds which have dominated his work since the 80s.He was quick to point out that his work style had been shaped by his days in self exile.Read More >>
“All the time, whenever I would go to paint, there was this thing in me. I think the energy in the paintings would show there is some bit of soul-searching,” he said to me, drawing back his arms behind his head in a thoughtful pose. There it was. The spirit of Melancholy.Read More >>
In October 2014, a Mutuba or fig tree was the focus of intense debate during an art exhibition. The Mutuba grows across tropical Africa, and is farmed in Uganda for its use in the making of bark cloth. This centuries old tradition is both cultural and historical. Therefore, it is surprising that the debate at the time, between the KLA ART 014 exhibition organizers and the KCCA, Kampala Capital City Authority, involved a disagreement about where the tree would be planted.Read More >>
A second photograph exhibition, Ebishushani 2&3 presented by History in Progress, Uganda at Makerere Art gallery imbues elements of documenting Uganda’s social-political landscape during the colonial and post-colonial regime, inviting dialogue on the significance of photography as a non-traditional art genre within the contemporary arts and creating an intelligent visual discourse that facilitates academic research in form of archive.Read More >>
Help Startjournal reach its fundraising goals as we count down the days from the start the of StartJournal Fundraising Campaign until it will end on the 31st of May. We are most grateful to people like you who make our work and the journal possible through your support. Your money not only provides young writers the opportunity to write about the arts, it also supports the documenting of East African and African Art, archives what is happening in the art scene and keeps our website updated & online.Read More >>
Eria Sane Nsubuga an academic at Christian University Mukono in the department of Fine Arts, says that referring to the work of others shows an awareness of self and others. “It is therefore natural given the residual western political and educational set up for African artists to refer to the work of the European masters that we saw in the Art History books. Incidentally those same books as a matter of design more than accident, said nothing about our own indigenous art.” he quotes in his essay, ‘Dead men tell no tales’.Read More >>
I was impressed, both in the affirmative and negative senses by the calculated way that racist philosophy is engrained in European culture.
Images of 2 dimensional photography, paint, paper, cloth; objects in 3 dimension, and audio-visual media have been used to project a consistent image of us. We put our work up in the subliminal awareness of the fact that our work, by virtual of being Ugandan or African and is telling a Ugandan story to an audience that has long held views of what Africa is or should be. My mission became not only to tell a Ugandan story but also to try and challenge the way that African stories are portrayed. Consistently I have desired to discuss ‘Race’, ‘colour’, ‘object’, ‘ekifananyi’, ‘image’ not in the mirrored way of showing ‘contemporary African art’ but also to show our art images and objects as needing liberation just as much as we do.
The Last Supper is a subject that has been reproduced in art severally. Leonardo Da Vinci’s 15th Century mural painting of Jesus Christ and his disciples seated at table having a meal of bread and wine that came to be immortalized in early Christian literature as the Last Supper has since become a source of inspiration for many artists. The present day production of the Last Super however does not involve a figure of Jesus Christ and his twelve disciples at the holly banquet.Read More >>
From February 9th to the 13th 2015, 21 fine art students, curators-to-be, and recent graduates participated in the AtWork workshop, equipped with two small moleskine notebooks. One book was reserved for ideas, question, and notes and the second for executing their interpretation to the question, “should I take off my shoes?” They worked under the direction of Simon Njami, with the support of Dr. Lillian Nabulime and Dr. George Kyeyune from the Margaret Trowell School of Industrial and Fine Arts.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 >>
Recently I was listening to this ballad by Fela Anikulapo Kuti where he asserted that it is in the Western cultural tradition to carry sh*t. That Africans were taught by European man to carry sh*t. Dem go cause confusion and corruption’. How? Dem get one style dem use, dem go pick up one African man with low mentality and give him 1 million Naira bread to become one useless chief.
Artist Henry Mzili Mujunga speaks his mind about interference within the art scene in Africa.