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[13 Jun 2018 | 2 Comments | ]
Revitalising Ugandan Bark-Cloth – Concerns of the regime artist

By Fred Mutebi

Blind Leading Blind, Leaders and followers – the current state of affairs in our global community.

I consider myself an artist of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) regime, which ousted former governments that were blamed for political turmoil that restricted Ugandan artists from optimal practice at home in the 70s and 80s. During that period, many artists migrated. Some of them like Fabian Mpagi, Geoffrey Mukasa, Romano Lutwama, may they rest in peace, returned in the late eighties and […]

Featured, Opinions, Special analysis »

[10 Jun 2018 | One Comment | ]
Ronex: “Can we think of a future without a documented or archived past?”

Ronex reflects on his own experience and asks himself: “As Ugandans, if we are still struggling with archiving and access of certain information, what role can each player in the Kampala art world play to avert the situation?”

Featured, Literature, Opinions, Special analysis »

[10 Jun 2018 | No Comment | ]
Poetry of Memory is Voice, Not Words

By Kagayi Ngobi

Kagayi Ngobi (image from the authors facebook page)

When the late Joseph Walugembe was still the Director of the Uganda National Theatre, he once explained to my friends and I of the Lantern Meet of Poets how our poetry was different from that of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. I recall him emphasizing how the memorized and dramatized performance of our poetry was the main ingredient. Up to that point I had never considered memorized oral expression of […]

Featured, Literature »

[10 Jun 2018 | No Comment | ]
Dreams to Write – A Poem by Daphine Arinda

In this poem, Daphine Afinda reflects how daring it is to choose the writing profession in Uganda considering the challenges that surround it.  Aware of all the risks and the fears, she still dived right into the dream and in December, 2017 and hosted her first ever Poetry Recital.

Artist interviews, Artwork critiques, Featured, Special analysis »

[10 Jun 2018 | One Comment | ]
Art Crossroads with Ugandan Mastery – Interview with Dr. Kyeyune

In anticipation of a busy creative art season kicking off in August 2018 and the KAB18’s “The Studio” concept launched recently, many contemporary artists and audiences lurk within corridors in search of the creative voice of Makerere Art Gallery amidst the prevailing visual discourse. Philip Balimunsi interviews Professor George Kyeyune, Director of Makerere Art Gallery/Institute of Heritage Conservation and Restoration, about contemporary issues in Uganda. Kyeyune asserts the cultural affluence of Makerere Art Gallery in the East African arts scene.

Academic Articles, African Modernisms Series, Featured, Special analysis »

[11 Mar 2018 | No Comment | ]
The Meaning of Contemporary African Art: Networks, Mobility, and Production

In this article Moses Serubiri presents a short history of africa95, the Royal Academy of Arts initiated platform.  Using this exhibition as a case study for the development of a contemporary African art discourse, the paper raises questions about the subjective frameworks informing contemporary African art exhibitions, such as collecting of artworks, historical methodology, accessible networks, mobility, and the expansion of artistic discourses.

Editorial Notes, Featured »

[24 Feb 2018 | No Comment | ]
Startjournal 2018: New Media, Channels and Connections – Editorial

The Journal has always aspired to be an indigenous-driven publication critically analysing and documenting contemporary arts and culture in Uganda. It would be even more valuable if the content of StartJournal is influencing the mainstream societal narratives. With this in mind we are now developing a larger communication strategy with the aim to connect the Startjournal content to other media. We foresee to increase the visibility of StartJournal content by pushing it to newspapers, news programs on TV and Radio and through social media channels.

Academic Articles, Featured, Margaret Trowell School of Industrial and Fine Arts, Nagenda International Academy of Art and Design, Special analysis, Visual Art »

[15 Feb 2018 | Comments Off on The Boda Moment. Positioning Socially-Engaged Art in Contemporary Uganda | ]
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.

Creative techniques, Featured, Special analysis, Visual Art »

[15 Feb 2018 | One Comment | ]
In Transit: A sculptural response to Gaba landing site

As a sculptor and eco-artist, Sandra Suubi is interested in materials found in a particular space and how she can use them in the construction of sculptures. In this essay she describes how she constructed a sculpture along the shores of Lake Victoria in Gaba.

Artwork critiques, Featured »

[13 Feb 2018 | One Comment | ]
Waswad Creates Extra-terrestrial Beings

If there is a Ugandan artist who can readily fit into the international art circuit, there is none other than Donald August Wasswa a.k.a Waswad. The contemporary art world is always looking for new ways of expression and Waswad fulfils this with his body of work exhibited at Afriart Gallery

Artist interviews, Comic Artist, Comics, Creative techniques, Featured »

[13 Feb 2018 | 2 Comments | ]
So You Make Cartoons for a Living?  – 8 Career Lessons for Animators by Isaac Mugabi

By Isaac Mugabi

Isaac Mugabi at work

What is it like being an animator? Which skills does one need to thrive in the animation industry? These are questions I get asked quite often. Put simply; animation is drawings or images that appear to walk, talk and think. They are a series of images moving in time. Well, it’s more complicated than that, but that gives you the basic idea. Some people tend to think animation is about making cartoons, and that […]

Creative techniques, Featured, New media, Photography »

[14 Nov 2017 | Comments Off on The Winner of Uganda Press Photo Award 2017- “An Example of Enterprising Journalism” | ]
The Winner of Uganda Press Photo Award 2017- “An Example of Enterprising Journalism”

The winners of the Uganda Press Photo Awards were announced at a ceremony held at The Square on Thursday, October 26, and the winners’ exhibition was launched at the same occasion. The exhibition is now open to the public, free of charge, at the Square and runs until November 26.

Collaborative Art Project, Dance and Theatre, Featured, New media, Review »

[13 Nov 2017 | Comments Off on “Do Not Touch My Hair” – A performance Review of Chombotrope  | ]
“Do Not Touch My Hair” – A performance Review of Chombotrope 

During the Opening performance of ChomboTrope , the Jitta collective by Kefa Oiro and Stephanie Thiersch yesterday at OneTen on Seventh, it was clear that they had used their creation process to deliver a strong sense of agency with shared ownership and ‘authenticity’. 

Editorial Notes, Featured »

[13 Nov 2017 | Comments Off on The art we make, the words we profess | ]
The art we make, the words we profess

It is almost a year since the rebirth of Start journal. Artists write about their work and that of other artists. Art historians theorise and contextualise art, locating the social and political circumstances out of which it arises. Exhibition reviews are invaluable, as are readers’ comments both digitally on the journal pages and in live conversations. Editor in Chief Margaret Nagawa gives an overview of what was published in the latest issue.

Artwork critiques, Featured, Opinions, Review, Special analysis, Visual Art »

[4 Nov 2017 | Comments Off on Why Damien Hirst is the greatest artist ever and why every artist should try to emulate him | ]
Why Damien Hirst is the greatest artist ever and why every artist should try to emulate him

“Why should an artist live and die as a pauper? Why would an artist be harshly criticized for making a living out of their gift? Why should an artist want to shift the laws of living? Why should artists not stand tall and say they want to be successful and rich?” These are the questions Matt Kayem asks himself.

Collaborative Art Project, Featured, Opinions, Review, Special analysis »

[4 Nov 2017 | Comments Off on Can Ugandan Artists Portray Ubuntu? | ]
Can Ugandan Artists Portray Ubuntu?

By Martha Kazungu

“Ubuntu is the missing link in the arts here in Uganda, the reason we are growing too slow! Both visual and performing arts. Some of us can’t even share an art brush.”  – Derrick Komakech, Ugandan artist

A photo showing the interior of the “Our Thing” installation by Nikissi Serumago and Darlene Komukama.

The LaBa! Art Festival took place on 27th May 2017 on Bukoto Street in Kamwokya, Kampala. Goethe-Zentrum Kampala (GZK) organized the festival. Eleven collective installations were exhibited […]

Artwork critiques, Comics, Creative techniques, Featured »

[3 Sep 2017 | Comments Off on Encounters with Art: The Inaugural Children’s Book Illustrator’s Exhibition | ]
Encounters with Art: The Inaugural Children’s Book Illustrator’s Exhibition

Think back to that moment when you first realized the possibility of any art form. As a writer, I easily trace that back to reading as a child. I still believe that the worlds I explored through books, the lives I lived through books, have made all the difference in who I am and what I do as an adult. Gloria Kiconco attended the first ever Children’s Book Illustrator’s Exhibition at Design Hub Kampala.

Artist interviews, Artwork critiques, Featured, Film, Review, Special analysis »

[5 Apr 2017 | Comments Off on Mira Nair and the making of Queen of Katwe | ]
Mira Nair and the making of Queen of Katwe

By Kalungi Kabuye

Before Queen of Katwe, Mira Nair was probably better known as the director of the 1988 film Salaam Bombay, which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. In Uganda we first knew her for Mississippi Masala (1991), a story of an Indian girl whose family had to leave Uganda because of (their deportation by) then President Idi Amin. It was the first major film in Uganda’s modern history to be filmed in Uganda, and […]

Featured, Opinions, Photography, Special analysis »

[5 Apr 2017 | Comments Off on Katwe, a genuine pleasure | ]
Katwe, a genuine pleasure

By Annette Sebba

These and many more memories have been triggered by the 2016 Uganda movie, Queen of Katwe. I agree with Olly Richards of the Sunday Times, United Kingdom, that even with a clearly signposted ending, the movie still manages to offer surprises. Nair delights in Uganda, painting a country of many social contrasts and cultures to embrace possibility, and not poverty. Katwe, since 1962, has been a center of African ingenuity, where artisans, craftsmen, and technicians repair imported products, […]

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

[5 Apr 2017 | Comments Off on Re-reading the Warps and Wefts in Trowell’s Mother and Child Print: Debates and Contests | ]
Re-reading the Warps and Wefts in Trowell’s Mother and Child Print: Debates and Contests

Margaret Trowell has been called the ‘mother of contemporary art in Uganda and a feminist’ (Tumusiime 2012). This is because in the mid-1930s she introduced the teaching of contemporary art at Makerere University and wrote widely on issues concerning family, women and children. On the other hand, she also created art though only few of her artworks are in Uganda. However, on my part I am interested in a lino print, entitled Mother and Child (1940s), whose visual archive I have accessed through George Kyeyune (2003) and Angelo Kakande (2008). The print captures a dominant sitting mother-figure wrapped in white cloth and nursing a child. Trowell’s print seems to suggest the earliest expressions of her self-activism to emancipate mothers and children through modern art. I re-read Trowell’s Mother and Child and its multiplicity of meanings. I re-engage it to retrace the threads of the colonial hegemony that wove together Trowell’s instruction of modern art in Uganda. This debate is essential. It sets the gendered pedestal on which contemporary art in Uganda was born and became interlaced with – to use Trowell’s words – ‘warps and wefts’ (Trowell 1957) This paper, therefore, marks our entry into the gendered discourses that have continued to shape Uganda’s modern art to the present.