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The Butterflies At Aka Gallery

Rarely does an artist in Uganda exhibit a series of over twenty drawings with a recurring subject. In a group exhibition on-going at AKA Art Gallery in Tulifanya House, Nsiima Juliet Kategeya, achieves this feat by exhibiting drawing of the butterfly.

The butterfly drawings are in water colour and on first encounter with them- they are strategically hanging within the reception area of the gallery- one is struck by their simplicity and beauty. They are either in pink, green, or white palette an aspect that adds to their naturalistic presentation.

“I am more expressive than impressive with my work. I want to communicate to an older generation of people who have more experience about life,” says the artist. Of course, her art has an element of maturity in terms of visual presentation. Unlike being obsessed with a bright palette that often dominates young artists’ work, Nsiima chooses the monochrome colours that allow better appreciation of the thought process of the artist. Such approach is increasingly being seen in the works of successful Ugandan artists like Daudi Karungi, Henry Mzili and Ronnex’s paintings.

But Nsiima is undeniably more introspective in her art especially with the fact that she chooses to not title any of her paintings. This technique allows dialogue between artist and her audience, but also creates a form of open interpretation. The artist has a background of Chinese modern art having studied Chinese painting, product and interior design. She also volunteered teaching preschool children, fine art in China in 2009. The thoughtful of Chinese art is evident in the way she fuses China’s calligraphy drawing in her art.

“The experience of being exposed to Chinese art inspired me a lot in my art. I learnt the importance of research in art and discovered the importance of using foreign motifs in my painting. A single dot can mean so much in calligraphy art,” she notes. The other half of the exhibition is shared by three young artists: Lukyamuzi Elvis Paul, Musinguzi Gilbert and Muwanga Ibrahim.

Each of these three artists has a unique aspect embedded in their painting. Musinguzi’s affinity for the rural setting evokes the artist’s passion for his cultural background in Ankole region Lukyamuzi’s painting of wildlife is reminiscent of the celebration of wildlife and nature through Fine Art and Muwanga Ibrahim’s portraitures of children imbue his work with a fusion of childlike innocence and an aggressive sense of promise.

Besides, the different themes these artists explore, they are united by the idea of experimentation with style and technique. Musinguzi’s paintings are naiumlve-looking in style reminding us of artists like Kintu Paul, Mathias Tusime and the master Jack Katarikawe. The artist deliberately avoids being sophisticated in his compositions. His brush strokes and form of his constructions on canvas are almost nothing but raw creations.

Muwanga’s portraitures are aesthetically colourful as always. The artist borders his work on abstract and realism creating a style that is both playful and serious. For Lukyamuzi is wildlife is washed in a bright palette and may quickly remind us of Hood Jjuuko’s paintings of wildlife.

Such a group exhibition opens an opportunity for artists to share ideas between themselves, but not feel unformed in the process. After all, it is through this type of platform that artists can get inspiration to create new ideas and sincerely gauge the progress of their art.

Source : The Independent

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