The first overview show of Ebifananyi, the research project on photographs in Uganda, took place on the fourth floor of the Foto Museum in Antwerp, Belgium. The exhibition was co-curated and produced by Joachim Naudts/FoMu, Bas Vroege/Paradox and me.
The documentation of the exhibition takes you through the large hall on the fourth floor of the museum. On by one you ‘visit’ all the colour coded spaces in the exhibition. They show selections of historical photographs that are part of the collections presented in the Ebifananyi book series. The white walls present responses to the historical collections.
Let us begin with a caveat: there is no such thing as one single history of a country and photographs sow confusion more often than they shed light. The exhibition that you are about to see, therefore, is not a straightforward one. You will be confronted with a multitude of images and interpretations that will raise far more questions than they will answer. So you have been warned.
Ten years ago, researcher, artist, documentalist and curator Andrea Stultiens (NL, °1974) ended up in Uganda. There, she came across a number of historical photograph collections and began to conduct research without knowing where it would lead. She launched the History in Progress Uganda platform in 2011, together with the artist R. Canon Griffin (UG, °1991), in the hope that it would give these collections a contemporary relevance. Numerous artists were invited to tackle the material.
Join Andrea and Canon for a tour through eight historical collections that coincide with eight publications. For each collection, you will also see derived observations: this may be an interpretation by a contemporary artist, a filmed document of an encounter, a modern photograph of a historic site or a reproduction of an illuminating newspaper article.
Do not expect the definitive story of Uganda. Instead, this is a journey into the complexity of historiography, the universal language of photography and the all-too-often enduring, stereotypical images of Africa.
Joachim Naudts and Bas Vroege, co-curators of Ebifananyi