Artist goes beyond boundaries of nudity, politics, and taboo
As a celebration of his ten years in the local visual art industry, Ronald Ahimbisibwe a.k.a Ronex has staged an exhibition “Beyond Boundaries”, a composition of his rich and diverse profile as a sculptor, painter, and printmaker.
Ronex explains that the exhibition which opened on 22 June at Afriart gallery in Kamwokya is his self-portrait as an artist.
The paintings on show have an element of freedom where the artist fuses his long standing technique of “sculpri”-here he wedges bold lines through the paint using a sharp instrument- with analogous colour harmonies to create extraordinary texture.
“The texture is provocative and draws the viewer to the painting,” he explains while pointing to one of his paintings. The texture can also be interpreted as a mirror of drama and fantasy on the canvas.
Ronex is a conceptual artist- though he doesn’t like the description because according to him it is self-limiting. “Conceptual is like confining myself. I like to experiment and create. I mostly work in my subconscious,” he says.
The idea of working in the subconscious and not limiting himself has an impact on his paintings, sculptures and prints.
As an open-minded artist and a social commentator, Ronex’s penchant for controversy is also on show.
He’s mostly preoccupied by controversial themes like corruption, homosexuality, and nudity (not pornography), in his work. These have the ability to provoke debate amongst his audience.
For example, in one painting “Beera mu class”- a popular street lingua to date- the artist explores the concept of isolation which is not only a social problem, but also political. As human beings, living in isolation has a negative impact on our wellbeing, specifically in making decisions. This message underlying in this painting is a strong dedication to our political leaders who often make decisions in isolation and in the end they’re isolated by their electorate who vote them out of office!
While exploring the theme of nudity, the artist uses his palette and masked naïve- like human figures to bring forth the message. Though nudity may sometimes be interpreted as a vice in the human condition and behavior, the artist seemingly mocks this perception as he otherwise suggests that nudity can be another medium of appreciating the human form.
Here the artist avoids being realistic or semi- abstract in his composition and conveys his thought (s) in the abstract thereby conjuring debate in the mind of the viewer.
And why is Ronex preoccupied with the composition of female figures in his work?
“They have been very central in my career as an artist,” he says.
He nevertheless hastens to explain to me their aesthetic value in his work.
“A woman’s form is beautiful and can be used as a metaphor to the day to day life experiences,” he says.
Aside from the aesthetic compositions of the exhibition, the other notable element of the exhibition is the presentation of the art work which is carefully done to fit the context of the sub- theme of the exhibition: “Ten years of creating or Wolokoso?”
The exhibition is designed to give the viewer an opportunity to analyse the creativity of the artist over the past ten years as he presents all the genres he works in.
The intensity with which the artist approaches his work can be interpreted as creativity and not Wolokoso. After a decade in the visual art industry, his impact on the local art landscape cannot be ignored. He has managed to escape many hurdles- the doubting voices from his family about being an artist; his residence in the infamous slum of Katanga; the meagre resources at his disposal, all of which he has used as an inspiration in his work.
The exhibition at Afriart – presenting his recent paintings- is one of the four exhibitions the artist has organised. Other exhibitions will take place at the Mish Mash, Makerere Art gallery and Fas Fas respectively for one month. Naked truths about Ronex