Uganda, Independent Magazine, Inglês


Artists explore the intersections between figurative and formal abstraction and the realm of imagination in group show.

ART | DOMINIC MUWANGUZI | You will feel absorbed when you encounter the works of Kaleab Abate, Emmie Nume, Salome Muleta, Daniel Atenyi, Sherie Margaret Ngigi and Kidane Getau. The six artists are showcasing their art in a group exhibition titled, Form and Fantasy at Afriart gallery in Kampala. This selection of artists can be described as appropriate when one critically engages with their work that underscores the theme of fantasy and the subconscious in its production. Artists like Emmie Nume and Daniel Atenyi are known to work intuitively in their artistic production and their work is suggestive of freedom of expression and introspection. It is such approaches, devoid of the formal classroom ethos of artmaking, that make their art uniquely extraordinary to look at.

The deployment of different techniques and styles tilts the artists’ work towards the definition of experimental artworks. While Atenyi’s work can be described as both figurative and abstract, Abate’ s work falls under the description of “fantasized realities”, and yet Salome Muleta’s enthralling acrylic paintings of women figures can be perceived as semi abstract. The diversity in studio approach, denotes a high sense of experimental processes in not only composition and colour application, but in interrogating day to day themes that are familiar to the artists immediate surrounding or personal experiences.

Salome’s colourful paintings- with a sophistication of colour deployment on canvas- depict women in a state of inner reflection. The act of working with symbolism in the paintings for example, the sparse array of objects that decorate the room: a drooping plant, a dozing cat on her lap or a distant crooked framed portrait, communicate figuratively a state of being both powerful and powerless for the woman. The cat has historically been used as a symbol in art to present protection and independence, but in this case the feline is dosing off symbolizing perhaps moments of vulnerability in the woman’s life. Equally such metaphor could point to the questioning of her independence in a world filled with cultural stereotypes of the female gender.

While confronting the theme of Form and Fantasy the artists underscore the portrayal of dreamlike and fantastical images that inspire lingering feelings of curiosity, mystery and suspense in the mind of the viewer. The hazy- ghostly portraits by Sherie Ngigi interrogating the subject of human mortality evoke a feeling of mystery and suspense about this “inevitable presence in our lives”. These images appearing as if like ghosts in our midst are difficult to turn away from and perhaps, remind us of what we all know: our undeniable fate. Equally, Emmie Nume’s intuitive portraits emblematic of informal art training offer an intense feeling of curiosity into the artist’s mind which ends up absorbing the viewer’s attention consequently leading to deeper conversations with the art.

The group exhibition is a perfect platform to appreciate the rich diversity in artistic practice of the artists. With a privilege of coming from different cultural backgrounds and experiences the artists approach their work with an open mind approach that culminate into the making of art that is beyond the usual. It is such undertaking that captivates the attention of the viewers and plunges them into deeper thoughts and conversations about the art on display. As such, this exhibition like several showcases at the gallery before, is a provocation to artists near and far to create great art; art that will outlast the taste of time.

The exhibition is curated by Lara Buchmann and is now open at Afriart gallery, Kampala, located on 7th Street Industrial Area, next to Wild Coffee Bar.


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