`Women Fantasies’ showing now at AKA Gallery in Kampala stimulates dialogue on issues of women emancipation and anticipations both locally and globally.
It is a trend now for contemporary artists to respond to global issues in their art. Ngula Yusuf Kiire’s work in the exhibition themed `Women Fantasies’ showing now at AKA Gallery in Kampala stimulates dialogue on issues of women emancipation and anticipations both locally and globally. The artist’s abstract paintings in a bright palette of pink red and yellow invoke the characteristic of women universally that is cheeky and girly, writes Dominic Muwanguzi.
“Women by nature are attracted to bright colors and love to do things that keep them young,” says the artist.
The artist goes on to employ secondary motifs like shoes, flask and sockets in his work to inspire conversation on the subject of women emancipation that is major topic in many women circles. According to Ngula he says that there is a shift in the way women behave today.
From the traditional practice of staying home and taking care of the husband and children to the present day activities of going to work in office and wearing neck-ties or bow-ties.
His painting `What you can I can too’ is influenced by the global trend of women taking up political office. This is a new phenomenon shared across countries in parts of Asia Europe, America and Africa. This practice is a departure from the stereotype that women cannot be leaders. It also invokes fantasies or privileges for women to take part in what was traditionally a man’s discipline.
In this regard, Ngula’s work adds to the conversation of how women emancipation has impacted their respective lives and the society they live in. In the local context, the artist responds to the present day social life of a Ugandan woman with her fantasies of living a life where she’s in charge; regardless of any cultural norms or practices. Such work somehow raises debate on the position of traditional cultural practices in contemporary society.
The other half of the two-man’s show is Ddamba Ismael whose art is often inspired by women and birds. The artist working in mixed media employs a decorative palette on canvas to stimulate visual discourse among his audience.
His stylish paintings carry a dominant subject of women and birds and are laced with familiar tribal art patterns that suggest influence of traditional art practice in his work. The traditional influence is further observed in the technique he uses of printing making that contributed as a primary medium for traditional African artists.
Ddamba’s women are highly decorated to evoke the element of fantasy in both his subjects and paintings.
They are dressed in African fabric designs and pose in a celebratory mood of festivities. The idea of such depiction is to emphasize the theme of Women fantasies. Women traditionally in Africa are at the epi-centre of festivities like child-birth, child-naming, marriage and harvest.
Additionally, the artist says that the different postures of women he paints on canvas allude to the fantasies of women.
“Women have different fantasies and many of them are impossible to achieve. They talk about them but they have no clue on how to get them not even their hubbies.”
The bird motif in this exhibit symbolizes peace and freedom that women hope to achieve from their fantasies.
Women Fantasies is an exhibition that explores the other side of women that society is familiar with but is not bothered to talk about. By opening up about this regular topic, the artists inspire familiarity for their work and are able to appeal to large audience.
On the other hand, the artist seemingly create debate about the issue of women emancipation embedded in women fantasies and its impact on African society in a global setting. Their attempt to discuss it in the African context, symbolises their respect for African culture and this is what its advocates should do.
The exhibition opened on Aug. 6 and ends on Sept. 10 at AKA gallery next to Alliance Francaise office.