Home Magazine Issues October-November 2012 Art Update: Uganda’s first Contemporary Art Festival takes to the streets of...

Uganda’s first Contemporary Art Festival takes to the streets of Kampala

Uganda’s first ever Festival of Contemporary Art will be launched in Kampala next month. KLA ART 012 will open on the 7th October and continue at twelve central locations until the 14th October.

The bi-annual event is a unique collaboration between eight arts organisations in Kampala. The title ’12 Boxes moving’ refers to a dozen 20ft shipping containers that will be transformed by artists during the festival. These structures, common to the city’s landscape and often used as shops, storage and shelter, will become individual exhibition spaces to showcase the exciting work of Uganda’s visual artists.
The 12 festival artists are: Bwambale Ivan Allan, Emma Wolukau-Wanambwa, Eria Nsubuga ‘Sane’, Eric Mukalazi, Lilian Mary Nabulime, Ronex, Ruganzu Bruno, Sanaa Gateja, Stella Atal, Sue Crozier Thorburn, Waswad and Xenson.

Across the city, the public are invited to visit the containers which will be placed in significant public spaces including the Independence Monument, Railway Station and the Industrial area. They will also be located near the venues of the eight hosting arts organisations: 32° East | Ugandan Arts Trust, Afriart Gallery, AKA Gallery, Alliance Française Kampala , Goethe-Zentrum Kampala, Makerere Art Gallery, Nommo Gallery and Uganda Museum.

The selection process for the festival took place earlier in the year and was based on a city-wide open call for proposals addressing the theme of innovation in the arts. After an initial selection process, 20 artists were invited to attend a week-long workshop led by international artists from Kuona Trust, Kenya and Nafasi Art Space, Tanzania and hosted by 32° East | Ugandan Arts Trust. Following the workshop 12 finalists were selected by the KLA ART 012 committee to participate in the visual arts festival.

Bringing art alive
“The festival is going to be a momentous occasion in the history of Ugandan visual arts since the creation of the Independence Monument” said Chair of the KLA ART 012 committee, Dr Namubiru Kirumira Rose. “I have been honoured to experience the effort that individuals, artists and organizers, have dedicated to ensure that art is taken to the various public spaces of Kampala. A selection of some of the best visual artists in Uganda are now engaged in making artworks that will create a landmark of Uganda’s artistic journey. The artists are going to bring to the city a visual expression that will embrace people from all walks of life.”

In order to offer exposure and international critique to a new and emerging Ugandan art scene, the festival will be accompanied by an international jury. Each artist will be judged according to a criteria that includes innovation and experimentation; the panel will also look at how the finalists have addressed art in public space.

A week of art events around the city
To compliment the exhibits, the Festival will be running a public participation programme to encourage new audiences. These will take place around the city and will include film screenings at The Hub, Mishmash and Amakula. The public are also invited to participate in artist talks, workshops and discussions at the art venues.

Coinciding with the celebrations of 50 years of Uganda’s Independence an opening reception for KLA ART 012 will take place on Sunday the 7th October at the Uganda Museum where the guests will be bussed around the twelve festival locations courtesy of Kombi Tours.

During the festival week, the exhibits will be open from 10am – 6pm everyday, entrance is free and a map indicating all 12 locations will be available.

For more information visit www.klaart012.org