Artist/curator Philip Balimunsi has been appointed curator of Nommo National Gallery, Uganda’s national gallery of art. What are his motives, his plans, his future projects? How important is the Nommo National Gallery for the art scene in Uganda?
Author: Matt Kayem
Most of the artists in this lot are locally consumed and no where on the international art scene. Apart from Sanaa Gateja, the rest wouldn’t be masters in the eyes of Simon Njami. Njami is right and there is a need for Ugandan practitioners to play at the big stage because there isn’t much the industry at home can offer. And also, is technique and aesthetics enough to bestow the title of master on one? What happens to the narrative, the stories around us, the pressing issues around us?
Matt Kayem on the discours: who can be called ‘master’?
Together, the works speak to the creative act of migration and the potential for everyday objects to simultaneously contain culture, but also cause it to confront other forces surrounding it – namely rapid urban development, technology and the digital economy, which accounts for billions of connections between individuals and multinational companies through mobile devices and data.
Matt Kayem on Tegene Kunbi and Robel Temesgen
I think I wouldn’t encourage people to become full time artists. I never even encouraged my students to become full time artist because you don’t go to school and learn to become one. Being an artist is a calling, you are either called to be that out of a need inside you or you are driven by circumstances. But I encourage most of my students to be creative, always question and be productive. The only way we can show our worth is through what we say and do, in other words through action. The more you say and do good things, the more you are considered productive and the more you will be rewarded.
Matt Kayem in conversation with the Ugandan artist Henry ‘Mzili’ Mujunga
Dripping Earth, 2019. Courtesy Circle Art Gallery
John Baptist Ssekubulwa is among the fresh young minds on the Kampala art scene. A cluster of intelligent and ambitious fellows initiating conversations and stirring them, an ingredient that is new to the young art scene. He has just had his first solo show at Afriart gallery and this is why I had to hunt him down for a good old one on one.