Category: Visual Art

8 Ugandan Artists to Invest in

Artist and writer Matt Kayem looks at conditions for a thriving contemporary art scene and wonders why isn’t there enough to talk about high art in the Ugandan context? He has compiled a list of 8 Ugandan living artists that are fetching the highest prices on the market at the moment and he believes collectors should be investing in.

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Curator: Friend or Foe of Art

There has been a raging discussion on the curatorial practice for the Kampala Art Biennale (KAB18) undertaken by internationally renowned curator, Simon Njami, on social media and international art platforms. The conversation emerged in the aftermath of the biennale with online art publications publishing a series of articles by international writers. Art Journalist Dominic Muwanguzi gives his opinion on the issue from a local perspective.

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The Boda Moment. Positioning Socially-Engaged Art in Contemporary Uganda

In this article Carlos Garrido Castellano examines two socially engaged Ugandan art projects: the Disability Art Project Uganda (DAPU), and Lilian Nabulime’s AIDS sculpture. By analyzing both initiatives, I attempt to characterize a new moment in the relations between artistic practice and social intervention in the Ugandan context. I argue that projects such as DAPU and Nabulime’s are confronting the current Ugandan situation of economic and political transformation, marked by the weight of the informal and the challenge of a nation-based cultural sphere. Finally, I point out some similarities with other African socially-engaged art initiatives.

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There is little I can say about Canon that he would agree with

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. Rogerson

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Ife Piankhi in Residence at 32° East

Ife Piankhi is a recent artist in residence at 32° East | Ugandan Arts Trust where she explored communal trauma, communal healing and identity through poetry, painting, woodwork and collage arts. Ife explored these themes and a variety of materials from May to July of 2017. She also hosted two community conversations to exchange stories and viewpoints concerning transatlantic slavery, personal stories of migration and where the possibilities for healing lie. A video by Nikissi Serumaga-Jamo.

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Global Connections: Elise Atangana on 2nd Kampala Art Biennale

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.

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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).

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Seeking that Coveted Photography Award

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.

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On the Role of Curatorial Assistant, Kampala Art Biennale 2016

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.

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Kiln Remodeling and its Use with Bizen-like Pottery Firing Techniques

This paper presents the practical processes of remodeling and using a kiln in the Ceramics studio at the Margaret Trowell School of Industrial and Fine arts, Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. The effectiveness of a kiln is dependent on its design, ability to preserve heat by minimizing heat loss, and the capacity to be economical with fuel. The kiln in the ceramics department used waste oil for firing. During my postgraduate studies spanning 5 years in Japan, I studied and worked with wood kilns – building them and firing in them. Upon returning to Uganda in 2015 with this experience, I was able to identify some of the problems associated with Makerere Art School’s waste oil fired kiln and its hardships.

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Duplicating Fabian Mpagi’s, the thinker, by Waddimba spurs controversy

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.

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Become Art Minded; Afriart launches Art Education Programme

“Art does not solve problems, but makes us aware of their existence,” sculptor Magdalena Abakanowicz has once said. Arts education, on the other hand, does solve problems. Society needs people with skills to think creatively, innovate and to become critical thinkers and learners ready to solve everyday challenges. It is this understanding that has inspired Afriart Gallery to add an Art Education department to their existing scope of work.

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Stimulating artistic inquiry with Ronex’ Bags

The Exhibition titled Bags that opened recently at Afriart gallery in Kampala is a continuation of the innovation, participation and interaction. The artist showcases bags in both small and big sizes with artworks emblazoned on their faces. Some of the images are abstract while others are semi-abstract with human figures and familiar motifs like the pair of fish wedged on canvas, the miniature human face parallel to the miniature standing human figure and the now popular KLA motif.

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