Wednesday, 17 Apr 2024
Year: 2015

Thank you for your support, we are almost there!

Help Startjournal reach its fundraising goals as we count down the days from the start the of StartJournal Fundraising Campaign until it will end on the 31st of May. We are most grateful to people like you who make our work and the journal possible through your support. Your money not only provides young writers the opportunity to write about the arts, it also supports the documenting of East African and African Art, archives what is happening in the art scene and keeps our website updated & online.

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Boda-Boda series by Bwabale Ivan

Beautiful Imperfections: An exhibition of sculptures by Makerere Alumni

With Beautiful Imperfections, the artists continue a journey of both self and artistic exploration started when they were students of Margaret Trowell school of Fine art. Their choice to come back to exhibit here manifests the faith they have in the institution and an insatiable appetite to better themselves at every level of their artistry.

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Mandela Wept 2015

“We have forgotten to attach an identity of relevance to our different forms of Art” – Q&A with Kwiz-Era

“We have forgotten to attach an identity of relevance to our different forms of Art”. Kwizera who goes by the moniker Kwiz-Era is an illustrator and Artist. Startjournal.org had a Q&A with him at his studio within Iguana Bar and asked him why it is important for artists to be relevant and not think about mass production.

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Inspired by Western Modern Art

Eria Sane Nsubuga an academic at Christian University Mukono in the department of Fine Arts, says that referring to the work of others shows an awareness of self and others. “It is therefore natural given the residual western political and educational set up for African artists to refer to the work of the European masters that we saw in the Art History books. Incidentally those same books as a matter of design more than accident, said nothing about our own indigenous art.” he quotes in his essay, ‘Dead men tell no tales’.

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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.

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Literature on African contemporary art at the 32o East Resource centre

Art writing encourages dialogue in the Arts

Last year in March, 32°East, a centre for contemporary arts in Uganda run a art writing residence for three months at their premises in Kansanga. The program co-sponsored by the British Council and Startjournal.org had one art writer, Dominic Muwanguzi, researching and producing articles that were published in the online journal.
Based from his experience from the residency, Muwanguzi a seasoned art journalist working in Kampala became more confident in his writing. For once, he became aware of the relationship that exists between writer, artist and audience.

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Road to No where "Exodus" by Joseph Ntensibe

Art collecting supports Art

Uganda’s art collectors are famously business men, art managers, foreign expatriates and artists themselves. In the past five years, there has been a surge in the buying art because of an increased number of artists on the local art scene, an influx of art galleries and organizations opening around Kampala, heightened exposure to the global art market and last but not least, political stability.

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A conversation with comic artist Chris Mafigiri

Chris Mafigiri Mugarura is a professional comic artist living in Kampala. He has been a comic artist since his childhood but started Journalism at Uganda Christian University, Mukono. In 2013, he won the comic book competition organized by the Goethe Zentrum Kampala/ UGCS. This led to his publishing the book, Children of War that was recently launched at the Cultural offices in Kamwokya, Kampala.
Startjournal Editor, Dominic Muwanguzi, sat with him and asked him about his latest book and how Comics influence other art forms.

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Andrea Stultiens, Dorothea Van der Meulen, Dean of Academie Minerva, Sarah AKol and Eria Nsubuga, Author

Images, Reflections, Objects

I was impressed, both in the affirmative and negative senses by the calculated way that racist philosophy is engrained in European culture.
Images of 2 dimensional photography, paint, paper, cloth; objects in 3 dimension, and audio-visual media have been used to project a consistent image of us. We put our work up in the subliminal awareness of the fact that our work, by virtual of being Ugandan or African and is telling a Ugandan story to an audience that has long held views of what Africa is or should be. My mission became not only to tell a Ugandan story but also to try and challenge the way that African stories are portrayed. Consistently I have desired to discuss ‘Race’, ‘colour’, ‘object’, ‘ekifananyi’, ‘image’ not in the mirrored way of showing ‘contemporary African art’ but also to show our art images and objects as needing liberation just as much as we do.

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The Last Supper - by Paul Ndema

Ndema’s Last Supper Painting Immortalizes Pan-Africanism

The Last Supper is a subject that has been reproduced in art severally. Leonardo Da Vinci’s 15th Century mural painting of Jesus Christ and his disciples seated at table having a meal of bread and wine that came to be immortalized in early Christian literature as the Last Supper has since become a source of inspiration for many artists. The present day production of the Last Super however does not involve a figure of Jesus Christ and his twelve disciples at the holly banquet.

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Participants and facilitators listens to Dr George Kyeyune. Simon Njami is fourth seated from left to right.

Atwork in progress

From February 9th to the 13th 2015, 21 fine art students, curators-to-be, and recent graduates participated in the AtWork workshop, equipped with two small moleskine notebooks. One book was reserved for ideas, question, and notes and the second for executing their interpretation to the question, “should I take off my shoes?” They worked under the direction of Simon Njami, with the support of Dr. Lillian Nabulime and Dr. George Kyeyune from the Margaret Trowell School of Industrial and Fine Arts.

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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.

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Gravity and Grace, El Anatsui Image: http://www.octobergallery.co.uk/

Demystifying African art Primitivism on Global art scene

The debate whether African art belongs in Global Exhibitions is one that dominates many art forums across the continent and beyond today. Artists, in a bid to assert their position in this era of globalization and emerge as international citizens have continuously produced artworks that tackle global themes like Environmental conservation, Recycling, Consumption , Material culture, Corruption, Gender & Sexuality and Feminism.

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Henry Mzili Mujunga at the Kampala Art Biennale 2014

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.

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Introducing Dominic Muwanguzi: The New Startjournal Editor

Today we’d like to introduce you to the new editor of Startjournal.
But first… a little backstory.

”START – A Journal of Arts and Culture” is a Kampala-based journal covering visual arts, performing arts, literature, music and other creative possibilities on the African continent . Start has been published four times as a printed magazine between 2007 and 2010, and has been online since December 2010.

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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.

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