Countdown to LaBa! 2013, May 25th

Preparations are in full swing. Artists have been chosen. The pitch nearby has been measured out. Security has been ordered. Street closure has been applied for. Adverts are running. LaBa! is coming closer and determined to turn Mackinnon Road into a lively, artistic and colourful stage for all art genres.

Written by Dennis Große-Plankermann, intern at Goethe-Zentrum Kampala

With its motto Open Studio, the LaBa! Arts Festival’s 7th edition wants to give visitors the opportunity for a look behind the scenes. The process of artistic production is important here, not the finished product.

But the creative bunch of around 60 individual artists will not merely be working while others can watch them, but even engage the public in their projects, designed just for the day.

This year, the Goethe-Zentrum Kampala/Ugandan German Cultural Society has — for the first time — called for application. While artists used to rent tents at LaBa! to showcase and sell their work, this time they did not have to pay for their stall. Instead, they had to apply with a creative idea and convince the festival committee.

Selecting artists for LaBa! 2013.

GZK/UGCS Director Carolin Christgau says, “It’s very uncommon for the artists to hand in such a concept and we didn’t know at all what would happen — would it scare them off? Now we know it didn’t: We got so many interesting applications that the selection process became difficult.”

Filmmakers, painters, fashion designers, poets, dancers; the festival presents every art genre.

Automatically, the diversity of genres leads to a diversity of activities: How will a painter construct an open studio? How will the filmmaker involve the public? How will the poet share his/her work?

However they do it, they will do it all day long; the festival will run from 11am to 11pm.

From last year’s LaBa! Street Art Festival.

When the music stage opens in late afternoon, it will feature some of the finest artists of Uganda, including Jamal, Suzan Kerunen and Jackie Akello, and also give newcomers a chance to perform.

World Music, R & B, reggae, afropop — the variety of genres reflects the overall diversity of the festival. Also the music will not be drowned out by children’s screams of boredom: A programme for little-ones will make them play, experience art and leave them with their eyes open.

LaBa! could make Mackinnon Road dream a little on May 25th. Or dance. Or maybe both.