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Different But One celebrates on World Art Day

The 26th Edition of Art lecturers’ art showcase opened with an overdose of love, excitement and learning brought forth by a new audience

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | It was not planned but pure coincidence that the 26th edition of Different But One; an annual exhibition of Makerere Art lecturers’ work; opened on World Art Day. That was the spice in the menu that added another flavour to the exhibition. The day came with many different faces to celebrate the opening. These included secondary school art students and a host of art enthusiasts from the corporate world. The presence of such an audience steered the exhibition into a mood of excitement, love and learning that have long been emblematic of the long standing art fete on the local art calendar. If the exhibition curator and patron Rebecca Uziel was smiling from ear to ear, it was because of the joy to see the fruition of her efforts. Those efforts were aptly rewarded with a plaque; a symbol of her enduring contribution to the Centenary old University.

The multi disciplinary art on showcase carried forth this joy and celebration. The works radiated with a wide range of pallette, theme, technique and media. This exploratory approach illustrated the diversity in studio approach and research undertaken by the lectures. Therefore, the paintings of Godfrey Banadda portray the artist ‘s perpetual studio deftness where he experiments with a diversity of themes and techniques. Banadda’s reputation as a distinguished painter of his generation comes to the fore in this exhibition where he exhibits four paintings exploring different themes but with high technical dexterity in stylistic approaches ; Stephen Gwotcho’s wildlife drawings depict his passion for Wildlife and perhaps its a figurative representation to the theme of nature conservation. Gwotcho is one of the most celebrated Wildlife artist in Uganda.

Similarly, Associate Prof. George Kyeyune and Raymond Nsereko’s artworks evoke the studio innovation and dexterity seen in other works in the exhibition. Kyeyune’s sculpture in clay of a familiar figure (President Yoweri Museveni) is astonishingly intriguing. The piece is more about exploration of the youthful qualities and maybe capabilities of the then young guerilla warlord than the idea of working with clay which the artist boasts of impeccable expertise. Nonetheless, working with the media suggests how easily clay can be manipulated to achieve the required objectives of the sculptor. On the other hand, Nsereko’s installation on the concept of Blacksmithing in Buganda completes the conversation on studio innovation. The artist builds the artwork with found objects that are typical of the work of the artisans in traditional Buganda. The technique of working with burnt wood, knife, spear and axe in the installation is critical in creating a visual language that is relevant and authentic to the audience.

The same studio approach can be seen in respective works of Joan Nanfuka or Lilian Nabulime whose work traverse the concept of working with both found objects and traditional forms of art making.

This edition of the show carries with it the energy and vibrancy of past editions. It is by such vitality that the exhibition stands and continuously co-opts new audiences within its realms. This amalgamation is essential in the longtime sustainability of the show that in absence of its founders, it will still live by its objectives of collaboration, interaction and education. Conversely within the context of World Art Day, the audience may have found a perfect moment to reflect on how art impacts their lives. International Art Day is primarily celebrated to nurture innovation and creativity among artists globally and promote unity in cultural diversity. Hence, through conversations on art and interaction with one another- regardless of diversity in cultural backgrounds- the guests subconsciously performed a noble cause of togetherness.

The exhibition is a brainchild of Rebecca Uziel, its curator and patron, and Prof. Phillip Kwesiga

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