During the month of August, art lovers from around the world will be treated to one of the most comprehensive exhibitions of contemporary African Art ever presented. With its goal to educate, invite debate and expose attendees to the value of art in society, the Kampala Art Biennale hopes to recognise and incorporate those African artists who are creating important works outside the mainstream of traditional venues, using themes that encompass economic, political and social values of the present.
The Kampala Art Biennale is a festival of art that encompasses several venues in Kampala, including the Makerere Gallery, the Nommo Gallery and the Uganda Museum for display of visual art from both local and foreign locations that relates to contemporary Africa as well as side events that include discussion groups, workshops, lectures, films and a chance to hear artists talk about their works.
This year’s theme “Progressive Africa” was developed to showcase the Afro-centric art of Kampala and Uganda and show the region from the artists’ point-of-view as it is now versus what it was like in the past or what the future may look like. One hundred artworks from 45 artists including painters, illustrators, cartoonists, 2-D media artists, photographers and writers from 13 African countries will exhibit during the Kampala Art Biennale. Artists have the freedom to choose themes either for or against the present economic, political and social realities of Africa, with festival organisers hoping these works will create important discussions that will enable transformative growth for the country as a whole.
Organisers of the event are the Kampala Arts Trust and Uganda Tourism Board, which have formed a strategic partnership with the goal of promoting Kampala and Uganda as art tourism locations, encouraging more art exchange between Ugandans and other countries in Africa and inspiring and motivating artists to create more art.
During the Biennale, local and little-known artists share the limelight with more recognisable names in African art such as Kenya’s Michael Soi and Ugandan artist, Eria Nsubuga. Art lovers and critics from around the world will have many opportunities to observe works that depict political and social themes as well as everyday life scenes. African art has become one of the most popular genres for collectors, such as national museums, corporate collections and private citizens with an appreciation for art, such as Nigerian businessman Tunde Folawiyo.