The new solo exhibition by Ibrah Nsubuga is very much inspired by Edgar Degas a European modernist artist who was identified by the subject of dance. Many of the works of the 19th Century French painter depicted dancers performing ballet.
Nsubuga evokes the work of the modernist artist in his paintings with a colourful palette that imbues the tropical landscape in which his work is set. The artist hinges his artistic narrative to the folklore of the empire of Tora and choreography of the fairies. The folklore is his theme and forms the context of his compositions on canvas.
“Tora means origin of knowledge and the land of ivory and its ancestors. It is a native story about a young generation of dancers featuring elements of practice, dominance, traditionalism, notations and performance,” writes Nsubuga in the exhibition manifesto.
The human figures of nubile dancers assume different forms and shape on canvas provoking drama and fantasy.
While dance is a central aspect in traditional African society being visible in every cultural ceremony, in this exhibit, it is figuratively used as a metaphor for identity, free expression, and imagination. The artist’s tendency to delve into the details of the components of dance like geometric progression, body diversity and freedom attest to this metaphorical approach.
In doing this, the artist usurps the identity of an intellectual. This quality infuses into his work something that invokes titles for him like Master of Fauvism. The latter title is bestowed onto him by veteran artist, Taga Nuwagaba, who believes that the youthful artist has done his homework and presented a unique exhibition.
Based on his intense research and experimentation, Nsubuga presents to us an exhibition that is fresh and intelligent. It is a type of exhibition that can best be described with the Luganda adage “There cannot be only one bull in the Kraal”. At a young age, Nsubuga has shown that he too can dine with the masters.
For some time, the exhibition will be a subject of conversation within the art circle, but the conversation should not stop at how good the artist is. It should be about what lessons fellow artists draw from him.
The exhibition is now showing at Afriart Gallery, Kamwokya.
Source : The Independent