Wednesday, 17 Apr 2024
Year: 2011

Is the Ugandan art scene on the right path?

Kampala’s arts scene is on the move. There is no longer such a thing as “the only gallery in town”. These new white cubes appears in many shapes and frequencies, and provides great, new arenas for creators to meet potential buyers and patrons. But who are the new drivers behind the wheel? Startjournal takes a look at the spin-offs, the garden parties, the corporate fueled charity events and the festivals.

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(c) Lilian Nabulime 2011.

Sculptural figures reflected on daily experiences? Nabulime confronts the canon of visual representation

In this essay Angelo Kakande F.J. reviews the themes of woman and man as visualised in Lilian Nabulime’s recent exhibition ‘Sculptural figures reflected on daily experiences’. He shows how a creative enterprise, shaped by formal art education, is interwoven into specific historical circumstances. He submits that through her sculptures Nabulime attempts to challenge masculine power.

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Eria 'Sane' Nsubuga, 2011.

The Gospel of Evolution through Sane’s Brush Strokes

“Is it then possible that Sane, whose devout Christian credentials are well documented, attempts to bridge the long-standing cleft between science and the gospel using the powerful medium of art? … What is not doubtable, however, is that love him or hate him, Sane’s brand of brush strokes remains among the few that continue to exude a stunning medley of independence, cerebral and artistic radiance.” Nathan Kiwere reviews.

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Samuel Lutaaya on stage during Bayimba 2011.

The Art of Economic Instability

The recent global economic downturn has given people in both public and private sectors a big fright, causing them to cut funding in various areas. Culture and its related industries has taken a huge hit to the gut as a result of this. What now? Should the creative industry just sit back and wait for someone to feel sympathy and donate some spare finance? Or should it start to think proactively and become more financially literate about its sectors? Samuel Lutaaya presents some suggestions.

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Bayimba 2011: A celebration of music, dance, art and culture

This years Bayimba Festival of the Arts outshone previous editions. Performers in the fields of music, dance and theatre were brought in from such locations as Europe, America and all over Africa. Artists and photographers exhibited their wares and a silent disco provided sufficient entertainment for dancehall music lovers. All in all, the Bayimba Festival tried to ensure that as many aspects of the arts were covered as possible.

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(c) Photo by Canon Rumanzi 2011.

The bright tones of Katanga

Photography in Uganda has for many years been shrouded in darkness. It is an aspect of visual arts rarely talked about and largely thought to be a preserve for journalists. Even then, photo journalists are never celebrated as such because they are often accused of treating their subject matter as objects; often doctoring the images to suit their taste and ambitions. To reverse this trend, Arthur Kisitu started the Mu Katanga project which among other things was to show the right picture of Katanga; with no distortions whatsoever.

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The Umoja Cultural Flying Carpet is landing at Ndere centre September 30th

Imagine 80 talented young artists from five countries including Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda coming together in one phenomenal two-hour performance at the Ndere centre. Expect drums and traditional East African instruments fusing with contemporary music, creating new soundscapes and rhythms. Look forward to be thrilled by fearless acrobatics, intense dancers, unbelievable contortionists and unstoppable jugglers. There you have the Umoja Festival.

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Taking art back to communities: The Mabarti Street Art project

The project of taking art to the street that Sadolin is spearheading will give artists and their ‘new audience’ the opportunity to dialogue. The artists will cast their nets beyond the gallery visitors to include local audiences. They will understand each other better and gradually develop images that match their expectations. Mabarti art project has confirmed to the Kampala dwellers and visitors that there is a community of artists in Uganda actively and devotedly practicing art and that these artists would like to reach out to them.

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Independence Monument by Gregory Maloba, 1962.

Shifts in Ugandan Art: From a rooted symbolism to philosophy as world-view

Contemporary visual artists in Uganda are not unified by pan-Africanism. They are far removed from pan-Africanist philosophers and their symbolism. Instead, artists like Wasswa Donald, Ismael Kateregga and Edison Mugalu seem to lure the viewer into a dreamscape where one is free to explore ideas of what world one is in.

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Can you really find your favourite Ugandan visual artists online?

Eight out of ten Ugandan visual artists publish information about themselves and/or their work online. Facebook is currently the most popular way of maintaining ones online identity, but the full-time artists and the experienced artists maintain a wider range of websites, and seem to benefit from that. Startjournal.org has conducted a survey about artists’ first experiences being online.

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A woman with many artistic hats: An interview with Margaret Nagawa

Margaret Nagawa has had many roles and responsibilities participating in Uganda’s fine art world. She has been a student of fine art, a maker of fine arts, a curator, a teacher, a promoter, and a collector of fine arts. And now again, a student of fine arts! Margaret currently lives in Ethiopia but is working on her PhD from Makerere, writing her dissertation on ‘Visual Arts Dissemination and Cultural Translation in East Africa’.

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"Changing Kampala", Taga Francis Nuwagaba, 2011 (80x60cm, watercolor on paper)

Behind the Artwork: Taga’s ‘Changing Kampala’

In this new category of articles, Startjournal.org will present the Story Behind an Artwork. We will be interviewing leading East African visual artists about one particular work of art, trying to explain their reasons for and struggles with creating that one piece of art. First out is the Ugandan watercolor master Taga Francis Nuwagaba and his recent painting ’Changing Kampala’ (watercolor on paper, 2011) .

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Rosette Ntyefas, Bayimba

Bayimba Festival: Champion of the Arts

Between the 16th and the 18th September, the National Theater and Dewington Road next to it will be a riotous blaze of sound, colour, fashion and the spoken word: The Bayimba Festival is coming to town. But the Bayimba Cultural Foundation is so much more than an annual festival. In this article, Bayimba explains why they host cultural workshops, fund artists, and initiate industry discussions.

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Contemplating the Early Years Exhibition, Moving Past Propaganda: A Critical Review

In this essay Dr. Angelo Kakande reviews The Early Years: Paintings from the Collection, 1960s-Mid 1980. He places it in Uganda’s history since 1958. In the process he revises some of the positions taken by its organisers; while he questions others. He demonstrates and argues that a contemplation of the wider context of Uganda’s social, economic and political history, which is embodied in some of the works on show, reveals not simply a failed past, but also a pathetic presence and an uncertain political future.

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The language of art

“Cultural diversity finds its amplification in the knowledge of languages. Art is not reserved for a small circle of people. Art is for everyone.” Samuel Lutaaya explores the relation between Art and Language using the recent LaBa! Street Art Festival as a backdrop.

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Acting the role of Chopin: Kiggundu’s piano performance

“In moving an entire audience to the central feeling of the piece, the pianist communicates humanity more than anything else, transcending both time and space to speak to the eternal awareness in each person. Long after the show has ended, the moment that occurred is burned into memory as a thing of utmost meaning.” Serubiri Moses portrays Kiggundu Musoke before and during a piano performance.

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Photo of Michael Ouma. Taken from his Myspace-site.

Acoustic moments: A portrait of Michael Ouma

A talented and multidimensional artist in his own right, Michael Ouma has been there and done that and lived to play the tune. His insight into music is almost legendary and gives one the sense that he plays from a totally otherworldly place compared to his peers. His passion for music and his desire to see the day when Uganda’s music and its instruments are recognized globally fuel his daily pursuit to become better at what he does.

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