At the opening drink up of Samson Senkaaba alias Xenson’s Pro Afro, we could have imagined that he had skipped his own exhibition.
Probably one Uganda’s most diverse artists and artiste, Xenson is a multi-talented act that does disciplines like fashion, installation art, rap music, spoken word and poetry.
On Friday 13, Xenson held his Pro Afro exhibition at Afriart Gallery, amidist speculations that he wasn’t present to officiate his own work.
In fact at the beginning of it all, many thought that he was absent and thus left the burden of explaining his work to the exhibition curator.
However, during the explanation of his work by Daudi Karungi, the curator, his kafuluness, as Xenson calls himself, emerged from the rooms of the gallery dressed in a black shirt, head mask and white trousers, he set into a poetry recitation.
Fumitiriza Kintu, Xenson was talking about the current situation where people are fighting against each other, police hurting fellow brothers and sisters.
The poem suggested that if Kintu came back today, he would cry at the divisions going on among his people – but Xenson wasn’t just talking morals within the people, he was actually talking about the government oppressing its people.
The performance, besides being a surprise was well articulated with elements of spoken word and rap music talking nationalism and his personal journey to prominence.
Talking about people despising their struggle, calling them mad because they were dressed in dirty trousers with a few holes; the performance was such an engaging element that proved that the artist grows as time goes on, for instance, when he bought a soda during his performance, even the guy at the canteen was in shock, he had not anticipated that he would end up being part of the performance.
Just like the work he was exhibiting, the performance too tended to interrogate issues of identity consumerism, human excess and global circulation of culture.
The exhibition Pro Afro explores the Afro hairstyle as a deeper metaphorical narrative on the politics of African Identity; use of African hair and African body tends to look at how the body is used to express beauty and disgruntlement at the same time.
Much as Xenson is one of the artists that never want their work to look similar like the previous one, his latest exhibition had a lot of influence not from his past collection but Michael Soi, the artist that exhibited at the gallery before.