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Kabbo ka Muwala – Impressions

May 24, 2016

Next stop – Kabbo ka Muwala’s opening in Kampala

by Anna Kućma

After it’s inauguration in Harare, Zimbabwe, the Kabbo ka Muwala exhibition has now made its way to Kampala, Uganda.

Artists taking part in the show including Emma Wolukau-Wanambwa, Mwangi Hutter, Helen Zeru, Jodi Bieber, Rehema Chachege and Berry Bickle, traveled to Kampala to join Uganda’s Immy Mali and Xenson as well as members of the NakivArt collective from the Nakivale Refugee Settlement. The curators and project coordinators also joined the artists.

The exhibition took a slightly different shape than in Harare, taking into account the difference in audience as well as the radically different, much smaller space of the Makerere Art Gallery, located within the Margaret Trowell School of Fine Art campus at Makerere University compound.

 

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Martha Kazungu and Rumzanzi Canon working on the installation of “The Flower” by Rehema Chachege, who is seated at the bottom right. Photo by Anna Kućma.

The opening was preceded by a press conference attended by local and international press. You can watch Al Jazeera’s coverage of the event here

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Katrin Peters-Klaphake and Raphael Chikukwa talking about the exhibition to the press. Immy Mali’s installation in the foreground, behind them “Rose’s Relocation” by Miriam Syowia Kyambi. Photo by Eric Mukalazi.

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Press conference. Photo by Eric Mukalazi.

The grand opening of the exhibition took place on April 14th and was attended by many distinguished guest including His Excellency the German Ambassador Dr. Peter Blomeyer, whose engaging speech sought to remind us that we are all at some level migrants or the result of migrations.

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Crowds gathering at the opening. Photo by Eric Mukalazi.

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Xenson’s installation “Musisi” outside of the Gallery on the day of the opening. Photo by Erick Mukalazi.

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The German Ambassador, Dr. Peter Blomeyer, speaking at the opening of the exhibition. Photo by Lawrence Musoke.

The event also featured two performances; the first by Ethiopian artist Helen Zeru, who in her Aesthetic of Shyness reenacted a ritual that was performed on her when she was a child, asking questions about memory and how we remember things. The second performance, by Xenson from Uganda, was an integral part of his installation titled Musisi, which was exhibited in the garden outside of the gallery. The work addresses the forces that cause people to move or migrate not only across borders and continents but also on a much smaller scale within Kampala city.

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Helen Zeru performing “Aesthetic of Shyness”. Photo by Anna Kućma.

 

The opening was followed by a Walkabout, which took place on April 15th. Artists talked about their work in greater detail to an audience of students, fellow artists and other visitors, explaining the ideas and concepts behind their pieces as well as answering more practical questions concerning the processes and installations of the works.

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Members of the artists’ collective NakivArts talking about their video and installation created together with Anke Fisher. Photo by Eric Mukalazi.

The Walkabout was followed by a visit to 32o East – Ugandan Arts Trust, where Jodi Bieber gave an artist’s talk about her practice as a photographer, about her career and background and about the challenges she faced and still faces in trying to shoot portraits that change people’s minds.

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Jodi Bieber presenting her body of work “Between Dogs and Wolves. Growing up with South Africa” during her talk. Photo by Eric Mukalazi.

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