Art has always been taunted as a way of life; be it through song, film, painting or fashion.
And it seems this was in the mind of young curator Martha Kazungu as she put together her second art exhibition in less than a month at the Makerere University art Gallery over the weekend.
A master’s student in her final year at the University of Beyreuth in Germany, she may have struggled with her debut exhibition Embodiment of Reason at the Uganda Museum in July. She was then working with Lilian Nabulime and Maria Brinch, two artists whose works were different on many fronts.
For instance, much as Nabulime’s sculptures were an easy fit in exhibition space, Brinch’s works were easy to passby – especially with the fact that there is a lot going on in a place that was already housing cars of past presidents.
For FAVT: Future Africa Visions in Time, Kazungu was aware of the past shortcomings and came all out to deliver an exhibition that was not only pleasant but had strong messages to deliver. The multi-discipline and yet multimedia exhibition brought together art forms such as film, fashion and spoken word to talk about migration and identity.
With installations such as Bong Luputu, artiste Derrick Komakech did not only question tradition but seemed to add ideas that can complement it; for instance, he noted that his work was inspired an Acholi proverb from the Okot p’bitek poem Song of Lawino in which he writes that “the pumpkin in the old homestead must not be uprooted.”
Komakech argues that everybody has been uprooted from one place to another and thus with his video installation, he seemed to suggest that people today can’t be like pumpkins, they need to be uprooted, to move and chase their dreams.
His installation Komakech is still remembered for that performance at the annual Doadoa performing arts market, he had showed up on stage with a dove that he let lose only for the poor thing to run into the audience instead of flying away into the unknown.
And it seems just like the bird that day, Komakech has refused to cage his creativity, moving between disciplines such as video and installations yet keeping the music alive through all of them, for instance, at the exhibition opening, he had his music as a soundtrack for the work.
According to the exhibition catalogue, FAVT: Future Africa Visions In Time explores visions of the future emerging from the continent and its diasporas and while curating it, there were questions asked about the current concepts especially those developed in times of crisis and uncertainty.
Other questions asked were how our everyday disrupts our visions of the future, something that may have got Pamela Enyonu thinking even more; she brought to the fore the topic of female leadership.
The difference was that she thought about a different woman from the one we could have been presented with in the past; Everyday Queens looks at ordinary Ugandan women that ensure the smooth running of establishments bigger than them.
These according to Enyonu at the opening last week could be tea girls, the woman serving roasted maize at the roadside or even the maid at home.
“These women have stories to tell and of course, they represent the boundaries that exist when it comes to what a woman can do or achieve,” she said.
The exhibition at Makerere University will be running for a full month and unlike many local exhibitions that tend to burn their steam at the opening, the programing for this particular one intends to stay with us longer.
For instance, it opened on Thursday and a day later was a public dialogue and a futuristic fashion showcase on Saturday, on August 22, a guided tour of the exhibition has been scheduled.