Kampala Art Biennale 2020

Online
28 October 2020
Artistic Director: Simon Njami

For 4th edition of the Kampala Art Biennale (KAB20) curator Simon Njami came up with a concept grounded in knowledge sharing. An invitation was extended to international artists considered masters in their field to give workshops to younger artists, from Uganda, Africa and the world, forming studios to incubate and manifest ideas through collective engagement.

Taking into account how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected all part of our lives, the conceptualisaion of the Biennale was embedded within a local and global necessity to take note of what has been taken for granted and the re-thinking of personal and professional routines. Two of these factors include changes in mobility and physical community. Instead of looking at what has been lost in this moment, the organisers encouraged remaining rooted in a constant flow of re-inventing ourselves and how we relate to the world around us. For this is reason, KAB20 was presented entirely online.

In making the move online, there was a determination and dedication to writing new narratives, through the structure of the Biennale as well as the processes and outcomes generated through the online studios. The studios were spaces for learning, reflection and experimentation.

KAB20 also teamed up with web-developers, creative thinkers, 3D-experts, gamification experts and digital artists to create a whole new way of experiencing a Biennale in a virtual space. Through innovative and interactive technologies, some of the main components of Biennales remained relevant and practical. Chatrooms and webinars will allowed for networking among the audience, for interaction with the artists and their work, and to bring an even more diverse and international audience together. A combination of visual, 3D, audio, video and text-based material was produced to make a visit to KAB20 a multi-sensory experience. Unlike Biennales, as we have known them, KAB20 has remained accessible beyond the original exhibition dates and will eventually turn into an archive and act as an example and vanguard of how to remain relevant when our conventional ways of operating are challenged.

Mixed media – Trevor Mukholi
Studio “HISTORY IS THE HOME ADDRESS”
Master – Andrew Tshabangu
Image courtesy of Kampala Art Biennale

The Tesserae series – Makerere Students.
Studio “BABEL EN LOS TIEMPOS DEL CÓLERA”
Master – Arnaud Cohen
Image courtesy of Kampala Art Biennale

KAB20 Curatorial Statement:

“Bob Marley’s song, “Get up Stand up” was a call for action: an action to free our bodies and souls. The context was that of a human revolution where one should not “give up the fight”.

Times have changed, but the challenges remain. The question is no longer related to the freedom fights, in those days where two thirds of the planet was colonized by one third.

Today, the question of freedom takes another turn: political, of course, but also economical and intellectual. How can we envision freedom in a globalised world? What are the miraculous weapons, to quote Aimé Césaire, that we must forge in order to achieve our goals?

Art is not the only answer, but it is certainly a field that allows experimentation and risks taking.

With the help of their masters, the students of this second chapter of The Studio will be asked to invent a language of their own, a language that could allow them to Stand up for their beliefs and their ideas.”
Simon Njami

Studio “HISTORY IS THE HOME ADDRESS”
Master – Andrew Tshabangu
Image courtesy of Kampala Art Biennale

Chris Dennis Rosenberg
Studio “HISTORY IS THE HOME ADDRESS”
Master – Andrew Tshabangu
Image courtesy of Kampala Art Biennale

Entrance
Studio “FANYA KAZI”
Master – Lilian Mary Nabulime
Image courtesy of Kampala Art Biennale

Studio “HOLD UP HALF THE SKY”
Master – Dana Whabira
Image courtesy of Kampala Art Biennale

Pregnant in This Pandemic – Oliva Mary Nantongo
Studio “FANYA KAZI”
Mater – Lilian Nabulime
Image courtesy of Kampala Art Biennale

EU delegation visits the digital team studio at Motiv
Image courtesy of Kampala Art Biennale

Studio “HOLD UP HALF THE SKY”
Master – Dana Whabira

Gye Nyame – Melinda Fourn
Studio “BABEL EN LOS TIEMPOS DEL CÓLERA”
Master – Arnaud Cohen

Masculinity and Fragility of Men – Joshua Victor Semaganda
Studio “FANYA KAZI”
Master – Lilian Nabulime
Image courtesy of Kampala Art Biennale

RESOURCES

Images courtesy of the Kampala Art Biennale, with special thanks to Director Daudi Karungi.

Click here to access the Kampala Art Biennale 2020 virtual tour.

Click here to access more on the background to the Kampala Biennale 2020 concept.

Click here to access ‘The Mountain’ – KAB20 Virtual Experience Introduction by Simon Njami.

Click here to access the KAB20 Team, Contributors as well as the details on the studios and participants.

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