Soft colors, rich ceramics at Young Artists’ Exhibition
Anwar Sadat Nakibinge, who is one of Uganda’s most successful mixed media artists, has an interesting observation about the on-going Young Artists Exhibition at AKA gallery in Tulifanya House in Kampala.
“In the past, the young artists were eager to copycat the older artists. Now this trend seems to be outdated as they are creating original and fresh work which sometimes challenges the already established artists.”
Nakibinge’s comment is of a general nature. But he might have been referring to Timothy Muhereza’s pieces which show bold promise for the budding painter and his novice’s lack of confidence on canvas at the same time. Muhereza’s innovative and experimental approach somewhat sets him apart from other young artists.
His composition of images of wildlife and human figures which represent different social themes like poverty, anguish and despair, disease, joy and happiness give one a sense that he will be artistically relevant to his community. He couples this with his palette of “soft running colors” to further mystify his semi-abstract style.
“I am inspired by what I see every day in my life,” says the soft spoken young man about his work.
Equally promising young talents with pieces on exhibition are Sebandeke Mohammed, Ochieng Moses, Allan Kasirye,Namanya Godwin, Olivia Nakayima, Phillip Wacha and Fredrick Gwanagamba. Each has a unique element in their work which will arrest the attention of the viewer.
Sebandeke‘s decorative style, which involves using different motifs and images (specifically fish and wildlife), show his passion for wildlife and enjoyment of the sublime feeling of playing with color and imagery in the impressionist style.
Moses Ochieng’s masks of mixed media on canvas display his teasing experimental approach rooted in African traditional art and contemporary African art.
Godwin Namanya will regale the senses of the art lover with his paper collage which analyses social issues while Phillip Wacha captures a feel of line and a sense of life and movement with his watercolours.
The other young artists in the exhibition (Fredrick Gwanagamba and Olivia Nakayima) are products of Vision for Africa; a ceramics school in Mukono that gives young people in the community hands on skills to create magnificent ceramics.
Still on the subject of the magnificent ceramics; Joanne Adongo, a graduate of Nkumba University- she is not part of the group of young artists- entertains our eyes to one of the best creations of ceramics from her stable.
Her three pieces; Chime Vase; Collar Vase 1, and Collar vase 2, in exhibit are something that can be considered as gems as they are crafted with a deep passion to experiment and create new things- the artist adds fashion elements to the vases to give them that outstanding character that makes them distinct and eye-catching.
The artist says that it has always been her desire to run way from the usual way of doing things.
“I always fuse what surrounds me with my ceramics. The inspiration for the chime vase came after the chimes I used to hear from the church I attended as a little girl,” she explains.
Anwar Sadat Nakibinge, who is no stranger to the Young Artists’ exhibition, also has pieces on show.
He says he believes this is a worthwhile opportunity for him to exhibit alongside the young artists because he’s able to evaluate himself as an artist in terms of where he’s coming from and going. He puts the Young Artists exhibition in good perspective as he describes it as a reality check to the visual art scene in Uganda.
Anwar is spot-on because it is evident that the young artists exhibiting have defied the usual copycatting and presented something fresh. However, their challenge is to muster confidence and become bolder and consistent. The exhibition is on until August 17. AKA Gallery is on Hannington Road in the Crested Towers area of Kampala city.