Art is a culture, language and way of life. Yet many Ugandans find it hard to relate with art.
Apparently, they feel that local art isn’t accessible; artists paint, create or compose to connect with a market miles away. They think that much of the art is so abstract, yet many Ugandans are just basic consumers of art, and thus, the theory that only white people appreciate Ugandan art.
And yes, we also have to face a fact that local art is not in places easily visible to ordinary Ugandans; galleries are tucked away in plush places. And that is where the latest art showcasing, Sadolin MabARTi Challenge, comes in. The challenge comes back for the third time after happening in 2013 and 2014.
During the launch at Sadolin Paints offices on Tuesday, Anja Gobel, the director of Goethe Zentrum, a German cultural society that partnered on the project, noted that MabARTi Challenge is giving artists a chance to exploit alternative spaces, but also said this is a good way of establishing a relationship between Uganda’s corporate worlds with the local art community.
“If you look around Kampala, you can still see mabaati (iron sheets) painted with art pieces from the last challenge. It gives an interesting dimension to the city, and even people who may not know what is happening, their interest is caught, and thus, become curious,” she said.
The challenge aims at giving artists a platform to showcase what they can do as well as a chance to participate in beautifying the city using a tagline of “Colors of Urban Nature”.
The paintings will be put on various iron sheets covering construction sites. Sadolin’s managing director Chris Nugent said they have scouted the locations carefully, and are sure that much of them will house the art for a longer time.
To follow the year’s theme, the 3×2 art pieces will be water-based colors as opposed to oil paints – according to Nugent. Water-based paints are more user-friendly, from usage and the time taken to dry.
The exhibition has attracted 20 artists, of which three are women. This year, there will be both a judges’ award and a special audience award for those chosen by social media. The challenge will officially end on July 13 when the winners will be announced, though, the art will stay on the spaces as long as the iron sheets stay.