Title: Contemporary Art in Uganda: A Nexus Between Art and Politics
Authors: Angelo Kakande
Keywords: Art and Politics, Bruno Sserunkuuma, Contemporary Ugandan Art, Fred Mutebi, Makerere Art School
Issue Date: May 2008
Abstract: The nexus between Uganda’s contemporary art and politics forms the overarching theme of this thesis. The trajectory of Uganda’s contemporary art as a political expression has been retraced. The different political dispensations which have shaped Uganda’s political art have been analyzed. The political postures and visual symbols Uganda’s contemporary artists have engaged have been analyzed in the context of the wider socio-political discussions which have shaped, and been shaped by, the country. It has been contended that different political epochs have invited response from Uganda’s artists since the early- 1940s. Where as this debate has been attempted by varied scholars, it has not been rigorously pursued. Formalist discourses seeking to prioritise formal aesthetics have been engaged; conclusions that after 1986 contemporary Ugandan art[ists] became apolitical have been made. With emphasis on two contemporary artists—Fred Kato Mutebi and Bruno Sserunkuuma—this formalist reading has been decentred; the socio-political relevance of Uganda’s contemporary art has been retraced and prioritised. It has been argued that although initially depoliticised through colonial modernity, Uganda’s contemporary artists have been sensitive to the socio-political conditions affecting their space and time; issues of governance and service delivery have preoccupied them albeit in different but often complementary ways.
Presented at: Own PhD defence: Johannesburg South Africa


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