'This is Uganda' Collin Sekajugo

16 March - 31 may
2020

At the beginning of 2019, I extended my creative energy into exploring the social mechanisms that are embedded in the indescribable culture of my country of birth. As an aspiring global citizen, I'm yet to find the right words to describe what some would characterize as simply chaotic, or what others may refer to as beautiful and vibrant. Whereas one might perceive the country as a total mess, others would passionately portray it as "gifted by nature", "welcoming", "generous and thriving". Alongside all the freedoms of expression, movement and trade, inequality, habitual politicking, miseducation, misinformation and pervasive lawlessness thrive in equal measure. And, despite the clash of the positive and negative, the good and bad - Uganda takes pride in this reality. This is what makes us who we are as a nation. This is Uganda. C'est l'Ouganda. 

 

Cows, goats, sheep, chickens, dogs roaming everywhere anytime.

Everyone is building anything anywhere anytime. Everyone is selling, buying and disposing of everything everywhere.

Boda Bodas are everywhere carrying everyone and everything anytime.

Music is loud everywhere, voiceovers, posters advertising everything everywhere.

Everyone is saying anything to anyone anywhere

People don't care, leaders don't care. Donors don't care. Nobody cares. This is freedom. This is Uganda. C'est l'Ouganda!

 

This project is aimed at exploring the role of identity in the making of Uganda's social fabric. It speaks to the tension between its fast-growing population versus the availability of public resources that are meant to cater for it. The backdrop of all the artworks in this project are performances wherein the quilted empty food sacs denote the seemingly endless need for humanitarian aid in poverty stricken and refugee-hosting countries like Uganda.

 

As a multidisciplinary artist, whose main purpose is rooted in community development, I am strongly passionate about using this project as a steppingstone to engage the local and international communities in conversations and dialogue on Uganda's most crucial issues that range from education standards and healthcare to environmental protection and public safety.

 

Along the way, I'm conceptualizing and contextualizing both mental and physical spaces where I create interactive artworks in different mediums i.e. mixed media on canvas, photography, installations and art performances.

 

Recycling is a significant part of my work. I'm therefore continuing to explore the use of locally sourced materials such as used polypropylene that denotes consumerism and bark cloth that represents Uganda's cultural identity.

                                                                                                   

Collin Sekajugo