A show opened recently at the Afriart Gallery in Kamwokya, Kampala, is the latest effort in tapping into young talent and bringing diversity into art spaces. Titled `Unseen’, it showcases works by artists Mulondo Patrick, Lukwago Saad, Reagan Kandole, Ocon Adonias, Denis Mubiru, Arim Andrew, Cannon Griffin (Rumanzi), Nabukenya Hellen and Yiga Robert. The artworks on display evolve around painting and sculpture and evoked a visual narrative of everyday life from human anatomy and recycling to cityscapes and contemporary fashion, writes Dominic Muwanguzi.
Helen Nabukenya’s signature style of lengthy textile fabric installation imbues elements of fashion design and the subject of gender. Designed with different shades of fabric, the luminous installation stimulates dialogue on the topic of women empowerment and togetherness in society. In a patriarchal society like Uganda-influenced by African tradition practices- women are still largely undermined in all spheres of life. Such action inspires little confidence in the civil society groups that advocate for women rights. It is through such installation that the artist communicates the message of unity- figuratively represented by the stitching together of the fabrics- that can reverse the situation. `Tuwaaye’ is also a metaphor to the theme of recycling- giving life to old object by reusing them-that continues to dominate many artists’ on the international scene.
The metal sculptures by Mulondo add to the narrative of recycling within the visual arts. Mulondo who collects metal scrap that include bolts, wires and springs from car garages around his abode and studio injects life into them by creating functional and decorative objects from them. These experimental sculptures are evocative to the idea of innovation and experimentation where the artist shifts from the traditional use of organic media like hardwood or clay to the use of non-traditional media like metal. Such bold practice reflects the artist’s maturity in studio skill and the notion of pushing the boundaries of art within the contemporary visual arts.
Lukwago Saad’s caricature drawings offer the public an amusing moment because of the artist’s adept nature of satirising contemporary issues like politics and the human figure. Initially interpreted by his students as a fake-fake art because of its lousy and rather unserious style, Lukwago’s caricatures are now proudly known as fek-fek art. These are either painted on canvas or emblazoned on T. shirts as a brand that uniquely represents the artist. Similarly, Denis Mubiru’s caricature drawings of Kampala’s mobile Taxis- popularly known as Kamunye figuratively depict the free-style nature of these Matatus and pedestrians the carry.
A few of these artists already hold solo exhibitions but this is an opportunity for the rest to have the public look at their work and possibly change their fortunes.
‘Unseen” opened June 17 and will run until July 29 at Afriart gallery, Kamwokya.
Sadolin MabARTi Challenge back
The Sadolin MabARTi Challenge, where artists paint on mabaati –iron roofing sheets across Kampala, is back this year. This is the third season of the bi-annual MabARTi challenge. This year’s theme, “Colours of Urban Nature” will task the selected artists in the competition to explore the city biosphere in all its colours and forms or devote their painting to the essence of urban lifestyle and landscape.
The 2014 challenge had 30 local artists participate under the theme “Your Colour. Your World”. A professional jury selected three artists for the top prize and artist Ocom Adonias was the overall winner of the competition. In 2011, the first year of the event, the theme was “Colour Your World” and artist Samson Xenson Ssenkaaba was the overall winner.
The art challenge was founded by Sadolin Paints in 2011 in conjunction with the Gothe-Zentrum Kampala as a way of extending art to the public; from traditional to non- traditional art spaces
Sadolin MabARTi Competition will take place from June 28 – July 13.