Forward Ever Backward Never, Global Imaginations

Meelfabriek Leiden (nl) | June, 2015

Ebifananyi 4, based on the Ham Mukasa Foundation Archive that HIPUganda digitised, has had several exhibition versions. This one is part of Global Imaginations, an exhibition organised by Museum de Lakenhal in Leiden in an old factory.

In this installation the visitor had the opportunity to dive into several themes that were important in Ham Mukasa life, that was lived from around 1870 till 1956. During that time religious wars raged, his kingdom Buganda became part of a colonial structure called a protectorate, and the movement towards the independence of the colonial construct Uganda started. Ham Mukasa wrote about three of his Kings and their times. A list of illustrations that was never made was an invitation for Ugandan artists and Dutch and Ugandan art students to engage with the history he imagined.

On seven tables, each dealing with one specific theme from Ham Mukasa’s life and/or writing, the visitor could do his or her own investigation, based on text fragments, video’s and the illustrations made by the artists and art students.

See this short film for thoughts on the translation of the title of Ham Mukasa’s book on the three Kings; Simuda Nyuma, and the Luganda word Ekifananyi by curator Robinah Nansubuga and Artist Nathan Omiel. This is one of the other exhibitions, with a stronger emphasis on the work of the artists and students.

Participating artists in this exhibition are Achola Rosario, Eria Nsubuga, Fred Mutebi, Ian Mwesiga, Lwanga Emmanuel, Nathan Omiel, Papa Shabani, Sanaa Gateja and Violet Nantume. The Ugandan students followed Eria Nsubuga’s painting course at Uganda Christian University in Mukono, while the Dutch students were part of an elective I taught under the name ‘Illustrating (for) others’ at Academy Minerva in Groningen.