Editorial: Start Journal Re-imagined

Margaret Nagawa (left), Editor in Chief, during the first meeting to discuss the journal's new direction.

Editorial: Start Journal Re-imagined

Start Journal of Arts and Culture is coming back after a break of almost a year. The break was necessary for its internal adjustment and re-organisation to set it on a new footing. It now has a new editorial team that constitutes high profile Africanists: Prof. Sidney Littlefield Kasfir, Assoc. Prof. George Kyeyune, Dr. Angelo Kakande and Ms. Margaret Nagawa.

Margaret Nagawa, the new Executive Editor of Start Journal
New changes have been introduced. We are aiming at making the journal more scholarly and yet retain its unique characteristic of engaging artists’ voices in open interactive ways, with articles that address issues of contemporary art in Uganda and beyond. Uganda’s contemporary art has, in the recent past, become complex and sophisticated. It has embraced installations, video, and non-figurative motifs. It is in concert with other art from the region. Such art is fortunately not motivated by money, but by artists’ desire to visually engage their audiences in provocative ways; ways that would compel these audiences to think about the world they inhabit differently. Corresponding critical writings are necessary to reveal nuanced, concealed, and even multi-layered meanings embedded in such new approaches in art. South Africa is playing a leading role in this.

The best remembered contributor to art in Uganda is, interestingly, not the greatest studio artist (in as much as I respect and hugely value art practitioners), but it is Mrs. Margaret Trowell, simply because she wrote—she wrote about art in Uganda and Africa at large. Her publications from the thirties to the seventies travelled far and wide, which helped to place modern art in Uganda on an international platform. Trowell left behind a rich legacy that Ugandans ought to emulate. Writing about our art will diminish the stereotypes, common among historians of African art, that no serious art exists in the region of East Africa, particularly Uganda, and indeed that Uganda’s artistic contribution to the world stage is a distant dream. The revitalised Start Journal of Arts and Culture through peer review processes should be able to change all that.

I pay tribute to Daudi Karungi, Henry Mzili Mujunga, and Jantien Zuurbier, the founders of this journal, and all the editors that sustained it for all these years. I thank the contributors to this issue and the committed reviewers who gave so much of their time and expertise.

Assoc. Prof. George Kyeyune

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