Boobs, Riot Police, and Trash

Daudi-Ndema still do ‘those things’

Artistic habits are hard to sustain. More often than not, they die off after their first phase excitement. Daudi-Ndema ‘Latest Things’ is an exception that has almost become an artistic tradition. Perhaps it is because it pairs two of the brightest and most creative brains on the local visual arts scene. Daudi Karungi and Paul Ndema love to push boundaries with their hard work and visionary skill.

Their previous two exhibits have featured heavy experimentation in technique and subject matter.

Last year, Ndema made an indelible mark with his mirthful paintings of riot police hugging journalists and sharing a hearty laugh while drinking beer with their ‘victims’. Apart from the irony in subject matter, his technique in these images became the talk of the town for months.

The artists this time works around themes of rebirth and transition.

Daudi Karungi’s series of mixed media installations (aluminium cans and copper wire)-under the theme of rebirth- are a social commentary on typical urban culture consumerism. His images are designed to evoke mixed emotions of attraction and repulsion. Their narrative is both interactive and sophisticated.

The installations also navigate the subject of turning trash into art. This concept is popular in contemporary art rooted in the community or indigenous expression. In this case, the subject matter and technique exude a lofty intelligence. Ndema’s patterned and unapologetic decorative stylist paintings offer amusement and humour. But they too evoke a sense of bitterness and resentment because of the subject matter the riot police.

Under the guise of “stopping riots in the city”, they appear not to be deterred from their mission of serving the interest of the government. This is always at the expense of innocent and often vulnerable citizens.

Ndema employs butterfly motifs as a metaphor of their innocence, freedom and vulnerability. Butterflies are symbolic of frailty and beauty.

In his pursuit of political and social debate, Ndema also paints aggressive bare breasts that almost cross the line on grossness. But they offer instant excitement.

As soon as she saw them, the first guest to the show, a middle aged Dutch lady, exclaimed “there are booms in here!”

Feminists, of course, might not like the objectification of the female anatomy.

This latest ‘Things’ season three shows that the two artists determination to think outside the box as they do their things.

In a quite unusual interactive performance, the artists scribbled the words ‘art costs money”, pinned them on to their shirts fronts and held out paper bags to the audience. This was a classic performance that made one point stop going to art galleries empty handed!

The exhibition opened on Nov.7 and closes Nov. 28 at Afriart Gallery in Kamwokya, Kampala.

Source : The Independent

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