Category: Special analysis

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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Beyond Tradition & Modernity: Contemporary Art in Uganda

From the start, Uganda’s contemporary visual arts were defined by the absence of their own ‘authentic’ tradition. Throughout the early twentieth century, Makerere University’s European directors sought either to stimulate a latent African-ness of their own imagining in the students, or to push them into the future via an exposure to foreign experiments in representation

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Lost in art, alien in our world

Over the last two decades specific diaspora curators (and theorists) of contemporary African art have become preoccupied with nationalism. Academic minds have tried to explain the internal-external dislocation experienced by the artist. However, the theoretical and thick the arguments do not address this fundamental ‘street’ or self problem.

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Rift Valley Festival 2013

A platform like the Rift Valley Festival can be used to strategically develop ones career, but it is dependent on the vision of the musician. There is no point in going there to just collect contacts. One must follow up with emails or phone calls in order to develop relationships or explore future collaborations.

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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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Opportunities and challenges in international craft collaborations

“However beautiful Ugandan craft products may be, it will be difficult for local artisans to succeed in a global market unless certain conditions can be met. … In my opinion, tight deadlines, consistent quality, innovation, committed partners, and good communication are fundamental to successful participation in global trade, over and above the products themselves.” Kirsten Scott writes about international craft collaborations.

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Producing Culture on Twitter: Is it Ugandan?

From the exposure many Ugandan musicians such as Navio, The Mith, Keko, Lillian Mbabazi and Maurice Kirya are receiving on Twitter, it would not be inappropriate to say that popular Ugandan music is experiencing a boom in Africa. Unfortunately, this has exposed their largely Western aspirations, creating the daunting questions such as: Who is the audience on Twitter? Which culture does one produce for? And, is it possible to produce a cultural following on Twitter?

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Censorship and the Arts in Uganda

“As the eighth edition of the Wazo Talking Arts proved, while the expectation is of artists to be at the forefront of debate and to challenge the status quo, artists are also a product of their culture, religion, and politics; their work cannot be separated from their experience. In other words artists are human beings, artists can be frightened, and artists can be ideologically conservative or liberal. If there is one attribute that artists need to create meaningful, challenging, even great work in the face of possible censorship, then that attribute is courage.” Farida Nabalozi reflects on Censorship and the Arts in Uganda.

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The influence of ancient drum practices on contemporary music

African societies, since time immemorial, have always been moved by the sound of the drum. Communication and celebration with percussions were norms within our numerous cultural contexts. Drums in African traditional societies were sources of identity that distinguished various social groupings. Samuel Lutaaya has interviewed Brian Magoba to learn how drums have been used in contemporary pop music compared to traditional music.

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On Cultural Destiny: The Klaus Wachsmann Music Archive

(As a society), we are responsible for documenting, studying and understanding the musical heritage that is available. Many contemporary musicians are looking for avenues to make their work more authentic. … The Klaus Wachsmann Music Archive would be the perfect place to establish more accurate study by those same musicians who are searching for ‘authenticity’ to research on various instrument, and to hear recordings of the canons of master players in Uganda’s cultural legacy.

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