[Posted by start | 15 Apr 2015 | One Comment | ]
Inspired by Western Modern Art

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’.

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Abstract, Featured, Uncategorized, Visual Art »

[Posted by start | 9 Apr 2015 | No Comment | ]
Abstract

Artists are continuously searching for inspiration for their art. Ideas often tend to be situated within their locale i.e personal experience, studio space, galleries, museums, workshops and artists residences. Yet there is another source of inspiration for many contemporary African artists: Western modern art.
An exhibition, Head, by Ugandan conceptual artist, Henry Mzili Mujunga at Afriart gallery, Kampala in 2014, showcased different connotation of the Head. The artist figuratively alluded to the vessel of knowledge and intelligence as dick head and spatter head. His technique of employing a monochrome palette of powder paint and infusing the tradition and the contemporary evoked Oliver Cromwell’s drawings of the head on spike. The 18th century painter used the drawings to symbolize the anarchical behavior of the aristocrats in Europe. In the same manner, Mzili paintings of the head, mocks and satirizes the despotic nature of African regimes and the West’s plot to re-colonized Africa.
Christ at Golgotha a famous painting by Romare Bearden (1945) was adopted by Eria Sane Nsubuga. Sane’s acrylic painting of the same subject matter, was based on his deep-seated Christian faith and an affinity to link Western modern Art with Contemporary African art.
While several artists both on the local and continent art scene continue to be inspired by works of Western modernist artists, how does this affect their artistry? Does it dilute or concretize it? What audience are they appealing to in pursuing this trend? Isn’t this a form of elitism that propagates stereotypes in art appreciation?
The article will critique this artistic trend and give answers to these questions using the voice of prominent art scholars and critics.

Featured, Literature »

[Posted by start | 1 Apr 2015 | No Comment | ]
Art writing encourages dialogue in the Arts

Last year in March, 32°East, a centre for contemporary arts in Uganda run a art writing residence for three months at their premises in Kansanga. The program co-sponsored by the British Council and Startjournal.org had one art writer, Dominic Muwanguzi, researching and producing articles that were published in the online journal.
Based from his experience from the residency, Muwanguzi a seasoned art journalist working in Kampala became more confident in his writing. For once, he became aware of the relationship that exists between writer, artist and audience.

Featured, Interview, Uncategorized »

[Posted by start | 18 Mar 2015 | 4 Comments | ]
A conversation with comic artist Chris Mafigiri

Chris Mafigiri Mugarura is a professional comic artist living in Kampala. He has been a comic artist since his childhood but started Journalism at Uganda Christian University, Mukono. In 2013, he won the comic book competition organized by the Goethe Zentrum Kampala/ UGCS. This led to his publishing the book, Children of War that was recently launched at the Cultural offices in Kamwokya, Kampala.
Startjournal Editor, Dominic Muwanguzi, sat with him and asked him about his latest book and how Comics influence other art forms.

Collaborative Art Project, Ekifananyi project, Featured, Special analysis, Uncategorized »

[Posted by start | 11 Mar 2015 | One Comment | ]
Images, Reflections, Objects

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.

Featured, Uncategorized »

[Posted by start | 3 Mar 2015 | No Comment | ]
Ndema’s Last Supper Painting Immortalizes Pan-Africanism

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.

Featured, Margaret Trowell School of Industrial and Fine Arts, Review, Special analysis, Uncategorized »

[Posted by start | 18 Feb 2015 | 2 Comments | ]
Atwork in progress

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.

Featured, Review, Visual Art »

[Posted by start | 11 Feb 2015 | One Comment | ]
Totems of Uganda: A tribute to Ganda culture

A creation of Taga F. Nuwagaba and co-written by Nathan Kiwere, Totems of Uganda is a full-colour illustrated book with totemic species and accompanying stories of the same. The book captures Central Uganda’s cultural history and translates all totems in over seven languages. It links the totems with their visual representations so that they can be widely identified, especially by the younger generation.

Artwork critiques, Featured, Special analysis »

[Posted by start | 3 Feb 2015 | No Comment | ]
Demystifying African art Primitivism on Global art scene

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.

Featured, Opinions, Special analysis, Visual Art »

[Posted by start | 28 Jan 2015 | 3 Comments | ]
Music to the ears

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.

Featured »

[Posted by start | 14 Jan 2015 | 2 Comments | ]
Introducing Dominic Muwanguzi: The New Startjournal Editor

Today we’d like to introduce you to the new editor of Startjournal.
But first… a little backstory.

”START – A Journal of Arts and Culture” is a Kampala-based journal covering visual arts, performing arts, literature, music and other creative possibilities on the African continent . Start has been published four times as a printed magazine between 2007 and 2010, and has been online since December 2010.

Artist interviews, Featured, Issue 045, Visual Art »

[Posted by start | 9 Jan 2015 | 5 Comments | ]
Q&A with Curator Simon Njami

“Contemporary artists working on the African continent should concentrate on their soil. Dig it. Find its treasure and secrets and come up with something that will shake the world.”

Startjournal talks to Simon Njami, Independent Curator of contemporary art, Lecturer, Art Critic and Novelist about some contentious issues currently dominating discussion about contemporary African art.

Featured, Issue 044 - KLA ART 14, Special analysis, Visual Art »

[Posted by start | 20 Nov 2014 | No Comment | ]
Mapping Kampala with KLA ART 014

By Elizabeth Namakula
KLA ART 014 was a far cry from the sophisticated and outdoor festival of 2012. The two festivals showed a progression from neat and tidy exhibits within shipping containers to multi layered commentary on informal living.
This year’s festival included contemporary artists from Uganda and Uganda’s neighbouring countries, exploring the theme Unmapped, and asking the question, who are the unheard voices of our cities and how can the unseen urban dwellers be represented and celebrated?

In the Gallery

Strips of coloured […]

Featured, Issue 044 - KLA ART 14, Photography »

[Posted by start | 16 Nov 2014 | No Comment | ]
An Exhibition of the Un-Recognised

The selection of artists was diverse, alongside the more prominent names from the continent, such as Vitshois Mwilambwe Bondo and Helen Zeru, there were also some less familiar local artists. Some of these practitioners were previously un-recognised as ‘artists’ and even some of the more familiar names had appeared dormant in Uganda for most of the last decade, well at least in the public’s eye.

Featured, Issue 044 - KLA ART 14, Special analysis, Visual Art »

[Posted by start | 15 Nov 2014 | No Comment | ]
Photo Currency: Images of Kampala’s Unmapped

The bodaboda project manifests the “unmapped” theme by bridging the gap between its audience and the artwork. It achieves this by taking public art to the public. Participating artist, Papa Shabani shared his excitement about the opportunity to interact with people and to have his art be part of a unique experience that has been relished by the public.

Issue 043 Bayimba International Festival of the Arts, Special analysis »

[Posted by start | 11 Oct 2014 | Comments Off | ]
Bayimba Comes of Age

When programming, we extensively discuss how you, our audience would experience the festival, the final product. “However programming our annual festival is a creative process, of equal importance as the final product in itself. It is a process of experimenting and exploring, in close consultation and cooperation with both artists and partners we select.”

Bayimba, Issue 043 Bayimba International Festival of the Arts »

[Posted by start | 19 Sep 2014 | One Comment | ]
Issue 043 Bayimba International Festival of the Arts

Bayimba International Festival of the Arts, now in its seventh edition, continues to provide more for its expanding audience. This year’s program has two performance stages, yoga classes, experimental music as well as a discussion about artist rights. The visitors come annually in the thousands to share in invigorating arts and culture. Behind the scenes workshops breathe creative life into up-and-coming artistic innovators. How does this festival continue to expand and innovate? Could it be that the Director, Faisal Kiwewa […]

- Issue 042 Kampala Art Biennale, Opinions »

[Posted by start | 20 Aug 2014 | One Comment | ]
Art, Culture and Tourism – Need for Integration?

For a country like Uganda looking for ways of creating a sustainable tourism product, developing a synergy between culture, arts and other sectors of the economy is crucial.

- Issue 042 Kampala Art Biennale, Opinions »

[Posted by start | 15 Aug 2014 | 5 Comments | ]
Vernacular Contemporary Art as a Manifestation of ‘Glocal’ Personality?

The works submitted for the inaugural Kampala Biennale left me thinking, confirming, some assumptions I have, and made me continue contemplating the realities, expectations and dreams of what it is to be an artist in our time. How do we link to times before ours and those which are yet to come?

Bayimba, Issue 041 Public vs. Private, Special analysis »

[Posted by start | 10 Aug 2014 | Comments Off | ]
Bayimba – Mbale

The reduced numbers at the 2014 Eastern Regional drew a lot of comparison with previous festivals. This contrast could be made between last year’s performers and those of 2014, yet their disparity is not based on regional descent; rather, on popularity.

- Issue 042 Kampala Art Biennale, Editorial Notes, Featured, Visual Art »

[Posted by start | 1 Aug 2014 | Comments Off | ]
Issue 042 – Kampala Art Biennale

Biennale, Biennale, Biennale. Like a war-cry, the artist of Africa have something to say. This time they will be shouting out from the streets and galleries of Kampala. In a push to showcase Kampala on the global arts agenda, a group of established artists teamed up with national government bodies, media specialists and city authorities to bring a Biennale to East Africa’s arts castaway. Sure, Nairobi is the known hub for contemporary arts in the region, but it was actually […]