Kampala is a cross section of co-habiting realities reflected in the styles, subjects, and symbolism of the artists in this exhibition. The artists cast their characters across class, gender, and social roles. The work looks inward at the self, looks around as if to find its bearings, and looks out beyond the city, country, and continent.
These ten Kampala based artists present a vibrant and honest reflection of their city. They work in diverse media that celebrates a recent wave in Kampala’s contemporary art including installation, video, and fine art photography as well as discovering new avenues in technique and subject on canvas.
Xenson and Paul Ndema, in particular, favour patterns as playful backdrops to themes of identity and religion. Henry Mzili contemplates the timeless subject of happiness, while Mukiza’s palette quietly repositions our perceptions of history on the continent. Stacey Gillian Abe takes the discussion on gender out of the gallery, away from the table, and into the public realm through her installations.
Denis Mubiru relates, in detail, unseen daily life in the familiar, if not iconic, setting of the Kampala taxi. Photographers Shabani and Timothy Erau seek deeply in their subject, but where Shabani seeks intimacy with his characters, Erau seeks intimacy with light. A video installation by Immy Mali speaks of self, society, and a brittle, yet persistent attempt to break free. Eria ‘Sane’ Nsubuga carries us out of Kampala where his disembodied and patchwork characters are the allegorical cast of a global social satire.