Category: Visual Art

Wazo 10: Xenson tells his story

On April 2nd 2013, the guest speaker for Wazo 10 was conceptual and visual artist, musician, filmmaker and poet, Ssenkaaba Samson, who goes by the name Xenson. In his introduction the moderator, David Kaiza, described Xenson as someone whose varied work in fashion, music, poetry and the visual arts has exponentially expanded what we call art and the art space in Uganda.

Read More >>

Displays of War and Peace

On rare occasions in Uganda, an artist dares to challenge familiar representations of beauty. But, what happens when we display tragic, often horrific, experiences? What happens when human interpretation cannot be purchased? How does a curator work with artists and researchers to display the ugly side of the nation’s history? This article seeks to examine — from a curatorial point of view — the key issues that arise when we use exhibitions as spaces to expose an often forgotten war.

Read More >>

Free Expression by Mzili: Desperate Art

“The enslavement of the African has persisted despite his desire for the liberties of capitalism. The oppressor and his kindred have continued to spread their greedy tentacles to engulf any outcrops of resistance. We cannot breathe the fresh air of liberty because the clever chameleon changes its spot like the dreaded HIV/Aids. These sound like chants straight out of the communist manifesto, but they are simply the lamentations of a hopeless artist whose every move forward has been checked by disparaging stereotypes. One would be quick to assume that art is the last frontier of resistance to this form of suppression and dominance. After all, it is what really defines a people’s existence.” Mzili speaks.

Read More >>

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.

Read More >>

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.

Read More >>

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.

Read More >>

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.

Read More >>

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.

Read More >>

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.

Read More >>

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.

Read More >>

The Collection Bug

As the global economy goes through turbulent times, it is becoming clear that art is regarded as one of the few investments which people regard as a safe bet. But, there’s more to art than money, despite the relationship the two are often seen as having. Local art collections and sales are on the rise, and with an increasing population of young, upwardly-mobile people looking to culture as a hobby, Anna Kućma sets out to discover the motivations driving several local collectors.

Read More >>

Free Expression by Mzili: For the love of a nation

“Politicians in the developed world understand the importance of culture in defining a people. So they support the museums, galleries, theatres and the other public cultural institutions. In Uganda, it is the opposite. The musicians, artists, playwrights and comedians are on their own. They work tirelessly propagating what is unique and definitive about their country.” Henry Mzili Mujunga speaks out.

Read More >>

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.

Read More >>

The many faces of ART

There are many new ways for Ugandans to be exposed to the arts. Startjournal wanted to find out if all the art that is permeating the air had actually seeped through the skins of the people. We posed the following question to working class Ugandans: Please tell us — what is ART to you?

Read More >>

Using art to help communities: The Benet Story

What do you do as a minority community in a greater Uganda when you find yourself landless and your heritage about to be extinguished? The Benet people, high up on mount Elgon in the district of Kapchorwa, have chosen to tackle their fight for recognition and preservation of culture through art, being helped by two Dutch artists, Arno Peeters and Iris Honderdos. The exhibition ROOTED opens at Makerere Art Gallery Jan 18 2013.

Read More >>

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.”

Read More >>

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.

Read More >>

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.”

Read More >>