Review Workshop #2 and Public Symposium

Our second international workshop was scheduled together with our East Africa based research team to take place around the second art biennial in Kampala. Within a short week at the beginning of September, our core researchers, both junior and senior, were reunited with guest researchers and some of our advisors to present their work in process within the field of African Art History Rewritten. Contributing to the History of Postcolonial Modernism. Research stays in Frankfurt am Main, Lagos & Oshogbo, Khartoum and Bayreuth were resumed and commented, while others focussed on the collection based research in Iwalewahaus, Weltkulturen Museum and Makerere Art Gallery, or introduced their current projects. To sum up, it was an enlightening internal workshop which not only marked the positive development of the project but which also was enriched through discussions, especially as an interesting dialogue between Nsukka and Makerere academics took place concerning both university collections and teaching. In addition, we took the opportunity to talk about our glossary for the upcoming publication which was important as the project is interdisciplinary and formed by academics and professionals from various disciplines. Finally, future milestones for the project were determined. The workshop group was formed by the following participants: Nadine Siegert, George Kyeyune, Smooth Ugochukwu Nwezi, Katharina Greven, Katrin Peters-Klaphake, Lena Naumann, Siegrun Salmanian, Martha Kazungu, Lara Buchmann, Hasifah Mukyala, Angelo Kakande, Ozioma Onuzulike, Rose Jepkorir, Moses Serubiri, Sidney Kasfir and Ulf Vierke.

Following the intense workshop days, the group visited the collection of Makerere Art Gallery and attended the biennial openings. >> more pictures here and here

(c) Ronex Ahimbisbwe. Opening of Biennial at Makerere Art Gallery. Left to right: Ulf Vierke, Katharina Greven, Siegrun Salmanian, Lena Naumann

Besides the internal workshop, our core team organized a public symposium within the Seven Hills biennial’s program. Entitled (Hi)Stories of Exhibition Making, 1960 – 1990, on September 4th we welcomed an audience at the Uganda National Museum. The topic of symposium was introduced by George Kyeyune’s presentation Exhibitions at Makerere Gallery and followed by complementary presentations on Kampala’s art scene. Katrin Peters-Klaphake gave an overview on the very recent history of exhibitions and festivals in the current decade, while Sidney Kasfir concentrated her presentation on the 1960s when she was working as a curator of Nommo Gallery. Ozioma Onozulike had his focus on what was happening and opening in Nsukka and Enugu between the 1960s and 1980s. The afternoon presentations started with Katharina Greven who talked about Mbari Mbayo and Oshogbo in the 1960s. Then we switched to exhibitions on the European continent. Nadine Siegert and Ugochukwu-Smooth Nzewi highlighted modes of exhibition making at Iwalewahaus in the 1980s. The last talk focused on one of the first big exhibitions of the 1990s in what concerns contemporary African art and was held by Moses Serubiri entitled Africa ’95 and its legacy. In the big final discussion with the lecturers and with the public problematics and methods were exchanged and contextualized into our project again.

(c) Ronex Ahimbisbwe. Public Symposium. left to right: Kathrin Peters-Klaphake, Ozioma Onozulike, Siegrun Salmanian, George Kyeyune, Sidney Kasfir
(c) Ronex Ahimbisbwe. Public Symposium. Left to right: George Kyeyune, Katharina Greven, Lara Buchmann, Nadine Siegert, Ugochukwu-Smooth Nwezi, Sidney Kasfir

Research in Nigeria

(c) Photo Credit: Lena Naumann. Sculpture by Susanne Wenger, Oshun Grove, Oshogbo.

In early May 2016, junior researcher Lena Naumann (Iwalewahaus) did a three-week research trip to Nigeria to explore the Nigerian contemporary art scene as well as to track some traces of art objects out of the collection Iwalewahaus. One intention of the trip was also, to eventually fill partly missing information about networks between the collectors and teachers and artists like Muraina Oyelami, Twins Seven Seven, Bruce Onobrakpeya or Nike Davies-Okundaye. After a one week trip to Oshogbo, where Naumann visited the Oshun-Oshogbo Sacred Groves and did research on the Austrian artist and later Yoruba-Priestess Susanne Wenger and the New Sacred Art Movement, she stayed in Iragbiji to visit the Egungun Masquerade Festival and did Interviews with several artists. Back in Lagos, she was accompanied by the artist Ndidi Dike who showed her trough the landscape of the contemporary local art scene.


Workshop #1 and Collection Iwalewahaus pt.1

(c) Photo: Devil’s Dog. Twins Seven Seven. Ink & Gouache on Paper. Collection Iwalewahaus

For the first workshop in Bayreuth in January 2016, Junior Researchers Lena Naumann and Siegrun Salmanian did some research on Twins Seven Seven’s artworks in the collection. They gathered information and did a preliminary research on Devil’s Dog (1966) as well as some other selected works, Devil’s Dog (1964), Mama’s Shadow of Life (?), Creative Squared Masks in God’s Diary (2000) and Creative Sketches in God’s Diary (1985). For the international workshop they prepared an Icon Lab Session with the workshop participants, researchers Nadine Siegert, George Kyeyune, Katharina Greven, Yvette Mutumba, as well as Ugochukwu Smooth-Nzewi and Ulf Vierke from the Advisory Board. Some intense hours of the icon lab’s knowledge production and discussion took place at Iwalewahaus and encouraged Lena Naumann to write an object biography on this artwork.

Workshop #2 and Public Symposium

(c) Photo: Part of Painting Collection. Collection Makerere Art Gallery

Public Symposium

“(Hi)Stories of Exhibition Making / 1960 – 1990”

Sunday, 04.09.2016, National Museum

10h-12h Presentations

  • Exhibitions at Makerere Art Gallery (George Kyeyune)

1938 will be remembered as the year for the first art exhibition in Uganda at Namirembe Synod Hall. The enthusiasm it generated led to the founding of the Makerere Art School in 1940. A community of active art practitioners soon emerged and the demand for exhibition space soon became evident. The Uganda Museum exhibition space (1962) and Nommo Gallery (1964) were a response to this demand. It is however the Makerere Art Gallery (1969) that became distinctive because of its focus on extending the boundaries of knowledge in art. It has, since its opening, maintained a non-commercial gallery stance. Its location within Makerere art School made it a perfect choice for exhibiting a diversity of art forms by staff and art students who came from the region of east Africa and beyond. Its collection is the finest in the region and a magnet to researchers in visual culture. The gallery has however had challenges that resulted from the turbulent political periods of the 70s and 80s, a shoe string budget as well as lack of qualified staff to run it. This paper examines the trials and tribulations of Makerere Art gallery and shows how it has managed to recover from its difficulties to become a vibrant centre for visual culture within Makerere campus.

  • Overview on the very recent history of exhibitions and festivals in Kampala in the current decade (Katrin Peters-Klaphake)

This presentation takes a look at recent exhibitions and art festivals in Kampala against the backdrop of a brief historic reflection on exhibition activities in Uganda and a side look at exhibitions of Ugandan art abroad. The art scene in Kampala undoubtedly is very vibrant in this current decade, a fact that certainly also has a lot to do with perception, audiences and new media. While the documentation of exhibitions in the past is quite fragmented and scattered – or simply not available or accessible – these histories provide an important context and some open questions.

  • Exhibition making in the 1960s: The Nommo Gallery (Sidney Kasfir)

The Nommo Gallery, founded in Kampala in 1964, has seen war and upheaval but has managed to remain open continuously for 52 years. Kasfir will discuss three artists who began their careers there in the late 1960s in exhibitions she curated: Francis Nnaggenda, Richard Ndabagoye, and Jak Katarikawe.

  • Exhibition making in Nsukka and Enugu, Nigeria: 1970s – 1990s (Ozioma Onuzulike and Chijioke Onuora)

This paper tells the hi(story) of exhibition making in Enugu and Nsukka (the political and educational capitals of Nigeria’s eastern region, respectively), beginning from the immediate postcolonial epoch of the 1960s, through the post-war period of the 1970s to the military era of the 1980s-1990s. It seeks to provide insights into the key venues or spaces available to modern and contemporary artists in both towns (which, incidentally, are located only about an hour’s drive apart) and the factors at play in artists’ decisions to use them. It also examines the factors that shaped how exhibitions were conceived, executed and documented, as well as the socio-economic and political conditions that shaped artists’ subject matters during these periods.

14h-17h Presentations

  • Exhibition making in the 1960s: Mbari Mbayo and Oshogbo (Katharina Greven)
  • Exhibition making in the 1980s: Iwalewahaus (Ugochukwu-Smooth Nzewi & Nadine Siegert)

Iwalewahaus, University of Bayreuth, is until today a place for the production and presentation of modern and contemporary art. By doing exhibitions, academic research and teaching, by taking care of the collections and the archive as well as providing residencies for artists, recent developments in contemporary African and African diaspora culture are presented and refined together with artists and institutions. In our presentation we want to give an overview of the most important shows and also reconstruct what these shows meant not only for a local public but also on a national and international level. We thereby want to broaden and complicate the narration of exhibition making of African Modernisms in the 1980s by adding the perspective of an institution that is strongly shaped by its founding director Ulli Beier and his conceptualisations of African arts but also by the fact that the institution is located in Germany and part of a university.

  • Africa ’95 and its legacy (Moses Serubiri)

The paper presents an analysis of africa 95 through its curator Clementine Deliss’ anthropological research in Senegal and Uganda, attempting to show how its anthropological strategies shaped the  curating of contemporary art from Africa.

The symposium takes place within the framework of Kampala Art Bienniale 2016. It is organized by the members of the international research project “African Art History and the Formation of a Modern Aesthetic”, who held their second workshop entitled “Art History Rewritten. Contributing to the History of Postcolonial Modernism” in Kampala.

Contact: Nadine Siegert / Siegrun Salmanian

Download program as PDF: PublicSymposiumKampala2016

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Further links:

Facebook Event

Kampala Bienniale Program


Collection Iwalewahaus pt.2

(c) Photo: Martha Kazungu working in the Graphic Collection of Iwalewahaus.

Martha Kazungu (BA, Makerere University) came for two months from April to June 2016 to learn and work at Iwaleawhaus as an intern, before she will proceed with her MA studies at the University in Bayreuth in autumn. During her stay, she did some research and archival work in the collection. While the focus lay on expertise in storing, preserving and working with the graphic collection, she could already participate in courses of art and curatorial studies, and got a chance to work on one object biography on a painting by Nigerian artist Demas Nwoko. Her stay also facilitated coordination concerning the second research workshop in Kampala. Thus, Martha Kazungu already got well integrated within the dense structures of the research project.


Research @ Collection Weltkulturen Museum pt.1

(c) Photo Credit: Wolfgang Günzel. Yvette Mutumba, George Kyeyune and Siegrun Salmanian in the Collection of Weltkulturen Museum with a graphic by Michael Adams

For the duration of one intense month in February 2016, Dr. George Kyeyune (senior researcher, Makerere University) was assisted by Siegrun Salmanian (junior researcher, Iwalewahaus) to explore the Jochen Schneider collection, a collection of modern African art at the Weltkulturenmuseum in Frankfurt. Under the guidance of Dr. Yvette Mutumba, curator of the Africa collections, they scanned through the storage and opened drawers to long forgotten artworks by former Makerere students and Kampala artists. Those works entered the German institutional collection in the late 1990s. Apart from delving into the collection, their research was completed by documentary parts of archival material, such as folders full of papers, old tapes as well as older publications of the museum’s library.



Further links:–die-kunst-erfindet-sich-neu-,1473354,33920158.html