Ugandan Art: Expressing Cultural Translations


Forum on International Issues
Sponsered by the Global Education Center

Wednesday February 27, 2013 1:00pm
Addi's Courtyard Lounge, University Hall

Ugandan Art:

Expressing Cultural Translations
Philip Kwesiga

Makerere University, Uganda

Dr. Kwesiga, an IREX Fellow, is currently a Visiting Scholar based in the College of the Arts Office of the Dean. He is Head of the Department of Visual Communication Design and Multimedia in the School of Fine Arts at Makere University in Kampala, Uganda. His own artwork has been exhibited in England, Netherlands, Belgium, Israel, Cuba, Kenya and Uganda. He has been a Visiting Scholar at Middlesex University in London, where he had previously received his Ph.D. in Art and Design Education.

Dr. Kwesiga will discuss how art expresses cultural translations in Uganda, both theoretically and with examples drawn from his own work and that of others. The artwork deals with issues of social and cultural continuity in everyday life of a Ugandan. Comprised of different ethnic groupings, Ugandan cultural attitudes, language, and material culture are in transition. Most languages have been lost or have adopted new words and meanings. The city communities can no longer hold onto the cultural tradition, and rural communities who get financial support from urban populations have been forced to tow the new thinking. The three major ethnic categories have forces within them and outside of them, and the Bantu have emerged as dominant with the Nilotes and Nilo-Himites being sub-merged into the Bantu culture and languages.
Most Ugandan cultures have been forced to adapt to what is practiced in other cultures, making a new “Ugandan Mix”, which is reflected in contemporary art trends.

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