The Arts defy the imaginary boundaries

Participants in the African Urbanities Summer Institute 2022 for the Andrew W. Mellon-funded project, “Entanglements, Mobility and Improvisation: Culture and the Arts in Contemporary African Urbanism and its Hinterlands” were treated to an awesome Bwola cultural dance performance, dramatized poetry and an Art Exhibition at the Margaret Trowel School of Industrial and Fine Art (MTSIFA).

Prof. George Kyeyune

Prof. George Kyeyune who welcomed the guests on behalf of the Dean Dr. Amanda Tumusiime and the entire college management informed them that Makerere University which was celebrating one Hundred years started at the location of the present Margaret Trowell of Industrial and Fine Art, that currently hosts the Institute of Heritage Conservation and Restoration.

‘Your efforts are amazing, the effort, the energy and dedication is for something unusual, said Prof. Kyeyune while addressing himself to Ph.D candidate Stephen Gwokcho, the brain behind the event at MTSIFA.

Prof. Sr. Dominica Dipio, from the Department of Literature in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences appreciated the warm welcome for MTSIFA and specifically Mr. Stephen Gwokcho who enabled four universities to converge.  She explained that the team that included staff and students was drawn from the universities of Ghana, Cape Town, Pretoria, Indiana and Makerere.

The principal investigator, Prof James Ogude from the University of Pretoria said he took a decision to network with the team from Makerere University with whom they had a long standing relationship, with the intention of developing African Scholars.  ‘if we talk about African Heritage, we cannot leave out the arts, especially the fine Arts’, he said.

Stephen Gwokcho while speaking about the Art exhibition noted that it was informed by the bwola dance.  He said visual arts and cultural arts created a beautiful synergy theorizing the city of Kampala as it stands now and in the past.

The project, that is supporting PHD candidate Stephen Gwokcho aims at helping young participants to grasp both intellectually and viscerally the intricate workings of urban spaces and their hinterlands by examining music, literature, visual arts, festivals, leisure sites and film. Poets  included CHUSS’s Prof. Suzan Kiguli.