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Four One One

Digiart Fest, making a case for animation

Children enjoying a Ugandan comic book. Photo | Andrew Kaggwa

Art has been evolving with each day that goes by. For example, there was a time when editorial cartoons were scanned for the next day’s print, or times when visual art and paintings were only physical prints.

Today, what is considered art is relative; very many forms of art have been developed that one does not necessarily need a canvas to express, nor are they supposed to stick to the norms. That is what the Digiart Fest that was held at Design Hub at the weekend was intending to push out. .

Digital art is a very big part of the creative world, from cinema, advertising, writing, storytelling, and many other fields, yet it has always been considered an escort of everything.

The festival that spanned two days; Friday and Saturday, is looking at changing the narrative, and clearly, at their seventh edition, they are achieving this.

With a wide range of workshops, panel discussions, and exhibitions, the festival aimed to showcase the immense potential and impact of digital art across various industries. By highlighting its significance and breaking down barriers, the event successfully challenged the notion that digital art is merely an accessory to traditional forms of creativity. As it continues to grow in popularity and recognition, this festival serves as a catalyst for further exploration and appreciation of digital art’s unique contributions.

Friday started off with panel discussions about storytelling and cultural narratives in digital art. Some of the panel discussants, such as Daniel Omara, noted that a lot has changed with storytelling because everyone is trying to play it safe: “The audience is making many demands at the moment, and listening to them may kill the entire story. You have the calls for diversity, where everyone wants to see themselves as superheroes. We all cannot be represented in a two-hour film.”

Other panel discussions looked at the role digital plays in conserving art and culture.

“Any person trying to save a bit of history needs to start now because a lot has been lost already,” said Rachel Kiiza, one of the panellists.

But what usually stands out at Digiart Fest is the screening of animated films and exhibitions of comic books written and illustrated by Ugandans. It remained a highlight, and some of the major step ups are that illustrators are starting to step away from comics inspired by Marvel and DC to those inspired by Ugandan characters such as Short Fuse, Michael Wawuyo’s character in the short film Sixteen Rounds, or the characters of Ubuntu Uppercut, also a short film by Loukman Ali.

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