Category: Special analysis

Indian alley with director Dan Moss, Ashish Verma and Nicolas Fagerberg - Image: Imperial Blue

Imperial Blues: European-African co-production in the post-colonial era

Who has the right to make an “African film”? Can filmmakers who do not originate from the continent make such films that reference the continent? Who decides this? This an many more questions were raised during a conversation between Samuel Lutaaya Tebandeke (Ugandan filmmaker) and David Cecil (British producer) on British-Ugandan production Imperial Blue.

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The team working on their co-creation (image by Design Hub Kampala)

Four minds of Gender Equity – The making of a stop motion animation

What does a group of artists with backgrounds in different fields have in common when they come together to work on a topic as huge and as controversial as Gender Equity? Actress and creative mind Esteri Tebandeke reflects on a co-creation process initiated by Design Hub and Hivos.

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Some of the available titles in the Malaika Children's Mobile Library

Entrepreneurship in the Arts, a model from the Malaika Children’s Mobile Library

Rosey’s Ssembatya’s mobile children’s library brings with it new ideas and approaches to reading and children. It is a unique arts innovation because; it focuses on children, their reading abilities, what they read, reading for fun, who reads for them. It also has a business niche to it. Tapping into a new young generation of readers, in a decade, we won’t have ‘Ugandans don’t read’ kind of phrases anymore.

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Kagayi Ngobi (image fb profile)

Poetry of Memory is Voice, Not Words

“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 poetry even as aspects of poetry”. Kagayi Ngobi talks about his journey into poetry.

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Artist impression of group photo of participants at the First Conference of African Writer of English Expression, Makerere University, 1962 (Illustration: Dada Khanyisa). Image from Chimurenga Chronic.

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.

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View of the exhibition Seven Stories about Modern Art in Africa, the Senegalese story, at Whitechapel Gallery London, 1995. Photo: Clémentine Deliss.

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.

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African Art History and the Formation of a Modern Aesthetic

The research project “African Art History and the Formation of a Modern Aesthetic” examines artworks of African Modernisms housed in museum collections. This first set of contributions for Start – Journal of Arts and Culture is the result of a public symposium at the Uganda National Museum in 2016 held as fringe event of the Kampala Art Biennale. In the coming months, the series will be continued with papers on a variety of topics related to African Modernisms and its contemporary relevance.

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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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Plate 2: Abstract image of Kampala made by Canon and hosted on his website. (http://www.urbanunkindness.com/)

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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Plate 1 Damien Hirst, The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, 1991. This artwork became a symbol for experimental Young British Art in the 1990s. Source: damienhirst.com

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.

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This was a grey Datsun Nissan Pickup truck, registration UYU 066. My Dad got this much later to fetch food from the farm on Jinja Road and take us back to various boarding schools. The moment in the picture was taken at Katwe on our way home to Makindye from the farm. This car’s family name was Kaddangadi.

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

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Fig. 1 Margaret Trowell, Mother and Child (1940s). Lino print, unknown measurements. Reproduced from Kakande Angelo’s PhD 2008

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.

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Dr. Angelo Kakande Chair, Department of Industrial Art and Applied Design, Startjournal editor

Editorial: Returning to the archive: It is still rich, accessible and usable!

This issue demonstrates that the available archive of the history of Uganda’s visual culture is still rich, accessible and usable. However, it could shape a conversation on the country’s creative discourse if (and only if) we looked at it again and looked at it hard enough. Dr. Angello Kakande gives an overview of the articles in this Feb – May 2017 Issue.

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