RVR in partnership with Uganda Art Trust earlier today launched the Kampala Art Biennale, in short KAB16, at the Kampala Railways Station.
This is the second edition of the Kampala Art Biennale organized by the Kampala Arts Trust – a private initiative under the theme ‘Seven Hills’ conceived by Elise Atangana with the aim of promoting art, major institutions with in Kampala and the city as a whole.
‘Seven Hills’ refers to Kampala’s historical city, when the Kingdom of Buganda was built on seven hills, in this context a project that focuses on concepts of Mobility Studies which includes the movement of people, objects, services or digital/virtual travel, and how it affects us in our daily lives.
Speaking at the launch event, while welcoming guests to the Kampala central station – one of the venues where the seven exhibitions are being housed, the General Manager RVR Uganda Joram Nyanzi said: ‘We appreciate Art as a reflection of what goes on in society. Art as you know has the unique power to influence positive change, especially art of today, produced by our own artists in Uganda and as a company that is evolving, we immediately understood what Kampala Arts Trust was trying to achieve when we were approached. Their work is very commendable, a product we are proud to associate ourselves with’.
Indeed when one visits the Kampala Railway Station, a lot on mobility studies around Kampala are depicted through the temporary art on display by Thomas Aquilina and Alex Lyons, who focus on video, sound and architecture. Artiste Gosette Diakota Lubondo explores mobility within an old train through her photography, emphasizing the fact that mobility is first individually experienced.
The most fragile piece of art work on display was a live presentation by Immaculate Mali – a Ugandan who debuted her exhibition with a performance titled ‘Safe here’. The performance focuses on her experiences growing up as a disabled child and how the situation robbed her of a childhood. Immaculate uses sound collected from children’s playgrounds, a bicycle, and a splint to allude to a stolen childhood and human resilience through creation of a fiction of imagination. The splint is one of many leg supports she wore during her time at school. It depicts not only support but a symbol of pain and fragility.
The biennial features artworks by over 25 artists from Uganda, Botswana, India, Congo, France, Kenya, Germany, UK, South Africa, Sudan and Belgium. Daudi Karungi, the Director Kampala Art Biennale KAB16 explained that ‘the biennale is established to recognize, and integrate African contemporary art that is being created on the periphery of mainstream information avenues. In 2014, when we last held our inaugural KLA Art 014 here at the Kampala Railway Station, it was evident that the people in Kampala are leading in the creative cultural renaissance seen through 7,000 visitors who attended the 6 exhibitions, showing works that had been displayed by 45 artists from 13 African countries.’
Kampala Art Biennale 2016 has another goal, which is international exposure. This second edition intends to invite renowned international artists to exchange with local artists while working in Kampala. KAB16 will also bring together key speakers including leading artists, gallerists, art historians, curators, museum directors, critics, and collectors from across the world to discuss adverse range of topics.
The Kampala Art Biennale is open to the public at all seven locations, including Kampala Railways Station, Uganda Museum, Makerere Art Gallery, Nommo Gallery, Afriart Gallery and the National Theatre from Monday to Saturday between 8:00 am and 6:30 pm. Entrance is free.