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Articles in the Visual Art Category

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[4 Aug 2017 | No Comment | ]
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.

Featured, Interview, Special analysis, Visual Art »

[2 Apr 2017 | One Comment | ]
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.

Artist interviews, Featured, Film, Interview, New media, Visual Art »

[14 Dec 2016 | 2 Comments | ]
Ugandan Artists at the 2016 FNB Joburg Artfair (video)

Video about 3 Ugandan artists, Sanaa Gateja, Sheila Nakitende and Paul Ndema, who showed their works at the FNB Joburg Art Fair 2016. Video by Eric Mukalazi.

Art Education, Featured, Opinions, Photography, Special analysis, Visual Art »

[14 Dec 2016 | 2 Comments | ]
Kampala Art Biennale – Photo essay by Fiona Siegenthaler

The documentation and representation of an event is never objective but individual and biased. This is most apparent when you have the privilege of both, being a team member and an observer of a key art event like the Kampala Art Biennale. This is exactly the position I have: As a coordinator of the talks, I worked together with the small but highly engaged team on our aim to make the Kampala Art Biennale the best possible event and offer […]

Artwork critiques, Featured, Margaret Trowell School of Industrial and Fine Arts, Opinions, Special analysis, Visual Art »

[14 Dec 2016 | Comments Off on Art and the “Ghost” of “Military Dictatorship”: Expressions of Dictatorship in Post-1986 Contemporary Ugandan Art | ]
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).

Featured, Opinions, Photography, Special analysis, Visual Art »

[14 Dec 2016 | Comments Off on Seeking that Coveted Photography Award | ]
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.

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

[14 Dec 2016 | Comments Off on On the Role of Curatorial Assistant, Kampala Art Biennale 2016 | ]
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.

Creative techniques, Featured, Margaret Trowell School of Industrial and Fine Arts, Visual Art »

[12 Dec 2016 | Comments Off on Kiln Remodeling and its Use with Bizen-like Pottery Firing Techniques | ]
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.

Art Education, Collaborative Art Project, Creative techniques, Featured, Visual Art »

[13 Aug 2015 | Comments Off on Become Art Minded; Afriart launches Art Education Programme | ]
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.

Creative techniques, Featured, Review, Visual Art »

[11 Aug 2015 | Comments Off on Stimulating artistic inquiry with Ronex’ Bags | ]
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.

Abstract, Featured, Uncategorized, Visual Art »

[9 Apr 2015 | Comments Off on Abstract | ]
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, Review, Visual Art »

[11 Feb 2015 | Comments Off on Totems of Uganda: A tribute to Ganda culture | ]
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.

Featured, Opinions, Special analysis, Visual Art »

[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.

Artist interviews, Featured, Issue 045, Visual Art »

[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 »

[20 Nov 2014 | Comments Off on Mapping Kampala with KLA ART 014 | ]
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, Special analysis, Visual Art »

[15 Nov 2014 | Comments Off on Photo Currency: Images of Kampala’s Unmapped | ]
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 042 Kampala Art Biennale, Featured, Headline, Special analysis, Visual Art »

[5 Aug 2014 | One Comment | ]
Africa, Kampala and the Irony of Progress

The biennale’s theme “Progressive Africa” is at once a mirror and a clarion call. It enables the organisers and participants to take a critical look at the past and face up to the future with renewed hope and enthusiasm. In other words, it straddles the past, present, and future in its philosophic and metaphoric essences.

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

[1 Aug 2014 | Comments Off on Issue 042 – Kampala Art Biennale | ]
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 […]

32º East Writer in Residence, Featured, Issue 041 Public vs. Private, Special analysis, Visual Art »

[25 Jun 2014 | Comments Off on Finding Solace in the West | ]
Finding Solace in the West

As persistent pleas are made to artists to create art with local significance the artists are caught up in a web of conflicted interest. On the one hand, they want to break away from the mould of Western art history bestowed onto them by university art education.

32º East Writer in Residence, Featured, Issue 041 Public vs. Private, Special analysis, Visual Art »

[4 Jun 2014 | Comments Off on Swings and Roundabouts in Masaka | ]
Swings and Roundabouts in Masaka

The duo had a call from 32? East to “work in dialogue”. This involved the artists pushing boundaries of their art in the community and experimenting with a diversity of media and techniques.