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Four One One

Atugonza using cobwebs to talk humanity

Some of the works on display at Richard Atugonza’s exhibition. Photos | Andrew Kaggwa

We are not talking about things such as accessories, clothes, and furniture; we are talking about things nature gives us – the cracks in a wall, stains, or cobwebs.

For his exhibition at Afriart Gallery on Seventh Street in Industrial Area, Richard Atugonza capitalised on the nature of the cobweb to tell stories about humanity.

Through synthetic webs, the artist looks at the various baggage people deal with, and in some cases, he explores how they get out of these situations.

Using cobwebs as a metaphor, Atugonza’s artwork delves into the complexities of human experiences and emotions. By highlighting the intricate patterns and delicate nature of cobwebs, he invites viewers to reflect on their own struggles and triumphs, ultimately offering a sense of hope and resilience.

His work is a mixture of sculpture and installations, some of which are placed on the ground and others hanging by ropes that depict the webs; others are laid on the ground. Most of the works on the ground are human faces that are seemingly trapped in a sea of sawdust. These trapped faces symbolise the entanglements and challenges that individuals face in their lives. The use of sawdust adds an element of fragility and impermanence, reminding viewers of the transient nature of human existence.

Atugonza says that he used to work in a furniture workshop as a technical officer, and it was there that he got fascinated by spiders, cobwebs and their ability to carry so much clutter. In a furniture workshop, for instance, the ability to create a home with heavy sawdust.

The trapped faces in the sea of sawdust serve as a metaphor for the complexities and obstacles that people encounter throughout their life journeys. The use of sawdust, inspired by Atugonza’s experience in a furniture workshop, further emphasises the fragility and temporary nature of these challenges. It highlights how individuals can create their own environments, even amidst the heavy clutter of life’s burdens.

The exhibition, curated by Lara Buchmann, explores the human experience and our inextricable entanglements with the natural world around us. But in more than one way or another, the exhibition shows you how humans always co-exist with nature and create relationships with it.

Atugonza’s artwork invites viewers to reflect on the impermanence of life’s challenges and the power we have to shape our own surroundings. The exhibition also prompts us to consider the interconnectedness between humans and nature, reminding us that we are not separate from the natural world but rather deeply intertwined with it.

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