Simuda Nyuma – Forward Ever Backward Never _ School exhibits UCU (Ug) – Minerva (Nl)

UCU- Mukono (Ug) & Minerva Art Academy - groningen (Nl) | July, 2016

The fourth book in the Ebifananyi series, with the title Simuda Nyuma / Forward Ever Backward Never, is based on the Ham Mukasa Foundation Archive that HIPUganda digitised, and a document that is part of that collection. The document, typed in Luganda, contains about 100 descriptions of images that were meant to illustrate historical accounts on the lives and times of three Baganda kings written by Ham Mukasa. An important part of the process leading to this book were classes taught in Uganda (by Eria Nsubuga) and in the Netherlands (by me) in which students from the Bachelors In Fine Arts programme at Uganda Christian University (UCU) in Mukono and Academy Minerva in Groningen, chose descriptions to interpret and make.

The photographs that follow is documentation made during the process, from the initial workshop that got the Ugandan students going (May 2014), to the exhibition staged on the occasion of their exams (August 2014), to the first exhibition of the project at Academy Minerva (October 2014), and, finally, the Ugandan book launch that took place at the Ham Mukasa Library. The library was named after the protagonist of the book /author of the descriptions and historical account the book is based upon because the UCU is built on land donated by him to the church for the establishment of an educational institution. The book launch included a performance done on my invitation by Sanaa Gateja. Mass Communication students at UCU made a short item for their university news broadcast about the presentation.

For more on this part of the Ebifananyi research project see this short film for thoughts on the translation of the title of Ham Mukasa’s book Simuda Nyuma, and the Luganda word Ekifananyi by curator Robinah Nansubuga and Artist Nathan Omiel. This is one of the exhibitions in the Netherlands, with a stronger emphasis on the work of the artists and students. This is another one, giving the audience insight into aspects of the research around the book.

Next to the Dutch and Ugandan students, the professional artists who contributed to this book and the exhibitions are Achola Rosario, Eria Nsubuga, Fred Mutebi, Ian Mwesiga, Lwanga Emmanuel, Nathan Omiel, Papa Shabani, Sanaa Gateja and Violet Nantume.