Sign up to Muzungu mail

Come experience 'the Best of Africa.' Let the Muzungu share with you my love of all things Ugandan, weekly. Its simple to sign up and it's free.

 

I guarantee 100% privacy. Your information will not be shared.

KLA ART 014 – “Unmapped” – Kampala Contemporary Art Festival

Oct 4 • 4887 views • 2 Comments on KLA ART 014 – “Unmapped” – Kampala Contemporary Art Festival Society and culture, Uganda

“Unmapped” – Who are the unheard voices of our cities? KLA ART 014, Kampala Contemporary Art Festival

KLA ART 014 Kampala Railway Station Exhibition. cow on a boda boda

Now you’ve seen it all! ‘Cow on a boda boda’ on display at the launch of KLA ART 014 at Kampala Railway Station

This year Kampala residents are being treated to a wide range of original African art: August’s Kampala Art Biennale has been a highlight of 2014, and KLA ART 014, Kampala Contemporary Art Festival, this October is set to be equally enlightening.

Kampala Contemporary Art Festival KLA ART 014 official poster

Kampala Contemporary Art Festival KLA ART 014 official poster

Two years ago, my friend Robert announced that, rather than come drink beer with yours truly, he planned to give up his Saturday to visit some old shipping container in downtown Namuwongo. (The Muzungu has been stood up for less I suppose, but I digress…)

In fact, Robert was taking part in the inaugural KLA ART event, in which a number of old shipping containers were converted into art installations. It was their placement in and around various Kampala ‘no go areas’ that really caught my attention: here was art physically ‘going to the people’.

Inviting someone to a gallery is in a sense ‘preaching to the converted.’ A gallery visitor is someone who already ‘gets’ art, already appreciates art, who perhaps even already creates art.

A contemporary art festival, such as KLA ART 014, takes art to the next level: inviting Ugandans to think and talk about art, to express themselves through art – something they may have never done before.

Helen Nabukenya at press launch for KLA ART 014 Kampala Contemporary Art Festival

Participating Ugandan artist Helen Nabukenya at press launch for KLA ART 014 Kampala Contemporary Art Festival

KLA ART 014 is Kampala’s contemporary art festival.

Throughout the month of October, the festival is unveiling new artworks from 30 artists from Uganda, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Kenya, Congo and Rwanda, asking the question:

‘Who are the unheard voices of our cities?’

According to Violet Nantume, Curatorial Committee, KLA ART 014:

“The bicycle knife sharpener; the express fashion designer; the mobile nail salon: they fill every corner of the city. ‘Unmapped’ will attempt to artistically showcase how people from every stratum of society adapt creatively to survive.”

Have you ever been inside Kampala Railway Station? Now’s your chance!

Thanks to KLA ART, Rift Valley Railways, KCCA and Umeme, Kampala Railway Station is open to the public for first time since 1994.

This free-to-attend Festival Exhibition features ten artists displaying their interpretation of Kampala’s “Unmapped.” (The Muzungu admitted to being very keen to have a nose around this iconic Kampala landmark and was delighted to be invited to the VIP preview).

At Kampala Railway Station the public has a chance to meet and discuss the artworks with the artists themselves.

Selected artists work on a variety of media, from paintings to sculpture, and fabrics to music.

KLA ART 014 Kampala Station Exhibition entrance

Unusually, many VIP guests arrived before the 6 pm opening time – so keen were we all to be the first inside Kampala Railway Station!

KLA ART 014 Kampala Station Exhibition ticket hall

Thanks to KLA ART, Rift Valley Railways, KCCA and Umeme, Kampala Railway Station is open to the public for first time since 1994

Back in the heyday of the 1950s and 1960s day, regular Mail Trains ran from Kampala to Nairobi, as Malcolm McCrow’s wonderful old photos show.

KLA ART 014 Kampala Station Exhibition  ticket office

Kampala Railway Station is open to the public for first time since 1994. All the original features are in place

KLA ART 014 Kampala Station Exhibition main hall

A brilliant exhibition space! KLA ART 014 Kampala Railway Station Exhibition main hall

Rocca Gutteridge, Project Director, KLA ART 014 says “KLA ART 014 offers a platform to showcase new and emerging ideas by contemporary Ugandan artists.  KLA ART is a two-year process of thought, production and experimentation resulting in a unique festival, which directly links artists, artworks and audiences.”

The Boda Boda Project

At the VIP launch, we had a chance to meet the artists behind the Boda Boda Project who have transformed 20 boda boda (motorbikes) into public artworks. The Boda Boda project is all about giving Ugandans access to contemporary art and these 20 bodas will be ‘mapping’ the streets of Kampala throughout October, driving north, south, east and west to engage with the community and chat about contemporary art.

Cow on a boda boda. KLA ART 014. Kampala Railway. artist Grace Sarah

‘Cow on a boda boda’ – a statement on the mistreatment of transporting animals – on display at the launch of KLA ART 014 at Kampala Railway Station. Creation of artist Grace Sarah (pictured) with inquisitive soldier!

KLA ART 014 Kampala Railway Station Exhibition, boda boda project

How would Uganda manage without boda boda transport?

Reagan Kandole watering plants in recycled boots

Reagan Kandole, from the Waste Management Education Project, WaMeP, watering the plants growing in the recycled boots decorating his boda boda. Every item on his boda boda had a purpose – I love it!

Kampala Railway Station. artist discusses Boda Boda Project

Kampala Railway Station is such an inspiring venue for the exhibition – here an artist discusses his work on the Boda Boda Project

 

The KLA ART artists and their boda boda creations are creating temporary exhibitions in a variety of locations across the capital. An interactive recording studio and a travelling cinema are just two of the innovations that will be touring the streets of Kampala on boda bodas.

I can’t wait to see how the streets of Kampala are transformed by this mobile exhibition!

I wonder too what the first-time art visitor will make of some of the ‘weird and wonderful’ boda boda creations on display?

KLA ART comes at a time when Ugandans have been discussing this year’s census: when people have been asking themselves quite a fundamental question: “if I don’t register, then do I exist?” Will the “Unmapped” recognise themselves or their situation in these pieces of contemporary art? It will be interesting to hear the feedback.

Here is the KLA ART free programme of events showing where the 20 boda bodas will travel to each day between 4th and 31st October.

What’s more, the KLA ART 014 free programme of events includes:

  • The Festival Exhibition – open every day at Kampala Railway Station from 10 am – 6 pm.
  • The Boda Boda Project – launching every day from the Railway Station and driving from there to a different location in Kampala
  • Studio tours every Wednesday during October
  • A symposium
  • Film screenings and
  • ‘Street art intervention’, run by Weaver Bird

KLA ART 014 is organised by 32° East | Ugandan Arts Trust, a centre for the exploration and creation of contemporary art in Uganda www.ugandanartstrust.org The full list of partners and sponsors is here.

Underscoring the theme of accessibility, press information is also available in Luganda.

For the latest information on KLA ART 014, check out:

www.klaart.org   |    www.facebook.com/KLAART   |   www.twitter.com/KLAARTfestival

So have you seen any of the 20 boda boda project bikes driving around Kampala yet? You certainly can’t miss the huge billboards in the centre of town.

Have you visited Kampala Railway Station? I’d love to know your impressions!

« »

Related posts

2 Responses to KLA ART 014 – “Unmapped” – Kampala Contemporary Art Festival

  1. […] busiest intersection is on Kampala Road above the railway, a heaving body of humans, corporate floats and banners and Kampalans pushing towards the stages […]

  2. […] was for the launch of the KLA ART Festival, the boda boda recycled art display and gallery show. I miss European architecture, so it was a treat to access this building. Kampala Railway Station […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

UA-47077574-1