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Exciting student art

It’s multi-disciplinary, full of potential

| DOMINIC MUWANGUZI | Exhibitions by art students often throw up surprises. Young artists are adventurous, innovative and revel in what is trending in the art world to cross boundaries. An ongoing exhibition by second and third year Industrial and Fine Art students of Kyambogo University at Tadooba Gallery in Mukono packs all these exciting features.

The annual exhibit now in its second year celebrates students who think critically about art  through an artists’ residency program.. They are encouraged to produce art in diverse media and genres in experimental and innovative approaches. It is a technique designed to ready them for the now very competitive art industry. This year’s edition is titled `Series of Single Stories’.

It appears that working in the same space and getting constant appraisal from their contemporaries and tutors makes the young artists bold and confident and their work authentic, relevant and innovative. The students also become eloquent in articulating their art in form, concepts, and technique. It validates their ownership of the works and is a very rare quality.

Jumah Ntege displays a series of children portraits that are unassuming to reflect the life of the African child who grows up in a deprived community and more often has little chance to fulfill their dreams. His technique of creates them from bird feathers pasted together on canvas with acrylics makes them unique. Feathers have been used before as a surface to paint. But, as Ntege explains, he was inspired by the opportunity to use these organic materials as medium and not as a tool. He gives the feathers, which are almost always discarded as the objective is the meat, a new life – in art.

With a background in drawing, he works with different tones and shades to create a startling portrait that immediately draws attention and curiosity. Many viewers ask questions about his creative process. His alternative media work is adoptive and inexpensive as it uses easily accessible material. It also cleans the environment.

Rachel Ndagire is a student of fashion design who presents abstract human figures uniquely fabricated from textile off –cuts.  But instead of stitching the miniature images on fabric in traditional fashion, the artist displays them behind a glass frame as if they were paintings or drawings. Her work is innovative in the way it juxtaposes sketching, stitching, and patchwork in a way that makes images come to the fore instead of disappearing into the background.

The same innovative boldness pervades Sharon Nambalirwa’s use of coffee as a primary medium in her art. Her technique of mixing the beverage is intricate and the results spectacular on canvas. Her recurrent subject matter are traditional music instruments; an allusion to the richness of African culture that unfortunately is never celebrated that much.

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Tadooba gallery is located in Mukono,  Nangwa- Butwalo Village.

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