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African art evades Africans as popularity, recognition increase
Writing in the NY Times, Chika Okeke-Agulu emphasized the dilemma of African art, which is being more appreciated and valued than ever, bringing record prices, at the same time it is becoming ever less available to the peoples of the continent. The need for national and regional museums to bring home-grown art to the public from whom it sprang is a key requirement for recycling Africa's creative talents into new generations.

(Thanks to JGC for calling this to our attention via Facebook.)

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New: Shop Amazon and help Ugandart FREE!
Here's an wonderful new easy way to support Kisa Foundation USA, and it won't cost you a cent. Anytime you want to buy something on Amazon, log into smile.amazon.com and specify Kisa Foundation USA from the "pick your own charitable organization" window. From then on, Amazon will donate 0.5 % of everything you spend to Kisa Foundation.

You get all the same products on smile.amazon as on regular amazon, and at the same prices so the transition is painless.

So far, smile.amazon.com has donated $46 million to designated charities.

Help us continue our work of providing art therapy to HIV-AIDS patients, and free art workshops for orphans and street children in Uganda. Register for Amazon Smile now, and pick Kisa Foundation USA as your charity of choice.

Ssali featured in Independent Magazine story
ARTS: ` Ladies’ Man’ Ssali strikes again
Nathan Kiwere January 30, 2017
ARTS, In The Magazine,


Majority of his close friends are female, most of his clients want women-themed works, and most of the people who collect his works, locally and internationally, are women. How then can one possibly be wrong to conclude that renowned Uganda acrylic painter Yusuf Ssali is the ultimate `ladies’ man’ – at least in the artistic sense?

In reality – and let’s get this straight – Ssali is a married in a stable relationship. In fact, he is not known for philandering. The thing is that Ssali has a special thing with women, which has trickled through his art for the past thirteen years like no other subject. This is accentuated by his sphere of influence being dominated by womankind.

They all have been mesmerized by one thing – African women. Moreover, Ssali is not alone in this enterprise; countless Ugandan artists have arrogated themselves the responsibility to ‘speak’ for women and have, in the process, rendered the female body in their art in a plethora of forms ranging from glamour to the lewd, all for different reasons.

The woman’s breast has suffered the greatest wrath of artists as they have sought to define and redefine it in infinite of shapes and colours.

Ssali has, meanwhile, sought to bring out womankind’s side that appeals to a universal audience without having to vulgarise her. This could probably explain the special love relationship between his audience and his work for such a long time.

Since he graduated from art school at Makerere University in Kampala in 2003, his practice has been limited to acrylics, a water-based paint medium because of being allergic to oil-based paint. In acrylics, he wrought semi abstracts works with no clear depiction of the women’s facial details. The intense primary colours that dominate his palette have radiated the subjects in all their grace and charm in a way that quite easily casts an entrancing reaction.

Ssali has since the recent past been gradually gravitating towards another genre in the form of non-representational abstraction whereas keeping faithful to ‘his women’. In this genre he employs a wide-ranging colour palette to experiment and come up with works that have little or no affinity to forms in the natural world. This approach is increasingly becoming popular among his collectors. It was made popular during the age of post-modern Abstract Expression that started in New York in the 1960s championed by the likes of Jackson Pollock and Any Warhol. It was at first defiance against the established norms of formalism but now it has been entrenched as the de facto technique practiced around the world today. Since last December into mid this month, Yusuf Ssali’s works were on exhibition at AKA Gallery in Kamwokya, Kampala, one of Uganda’s leading spaces keen on promoting a dynamic array of techniques from modern art to the avant-garde. He has been widely exhibited in France, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, the United States and, of course, Uganda.

****

editor@independent.co.ug

Ssali's Women


We're holding a big exhibition in Berkeley in November
Over 100 paintings and prints by Uganda Art Consortium members will be on display at Berkeley Arts Festival Gallery Nov. 5-30. The Gallery is spacious, well laid out and centrally located at 2133 University Av. in downtown Berkeley, just a few blocks from the University of California campus. This will be one of the largest shows we've ever held. Artists include Kaspa Kasambeko, Yusuf Ssali, James Nsamba, Chaz Mbazira, Farouk Mukwaya, Kizito Fred Kakinda and Mathias Tusiime. Well also have numerous works by kids from our children's workshops and crafts from the Mulago Hospital programs.

Mulago class sends aprons and handbags
A new shipment of craft items from our Mulago Hospital workshop is on its way from Uganda and should be here in time for the KPFA Crafts Fair December 17 & 18, at Craneway Pavilion in Richmond CA. About a dozen patients in the art therapy workshop made aprons, hand bags and jewelry which we'll sell to raise money to continue the programs. Hundreds of HIV-AIDS patients at Mulago have participated in our programs there led by Kaspa Kasambeko, Yusuf Ssali, James Nsamba and Farouk Mukwaya.

New kids workshop starts in Namungona
Over 200 kids in Namungona are expected to attend a new series of free art workshops starting Sept. 24. The month long workshops coincide with school holidays and feature training in tie-dye, jewelry making and painting and drawing.

Art Therapy Really Works, Drexel U. Study Shows
New Research by a Drexel University College of Nursing professor shows that just about 45 minutes of free art-making in a studio attended by an art therapist was enough to increase patients' confidence in themselves and their ability to complete tasks.

Read the whole article

Read the whole article


The Football Art Project
One day in June we took a bunch of kids from Namungona to Nansana to meet some of the players in the Nansana Youth Football League. We watched the players practice, and we all had a great time. The kids made sketches of what they saw on the football pitch that day, and later they created several paintings based on their experiences. It was a very successful outing.

More Photos Here


Kalerwe kids art and recycling program on national TV in Uganda
Uganda TV News show features Kalerwe kids art program started by Mathias Tusiime.

Kalerwe TV Program


Art Center Offers Multiple Programs
The public is invited to visit Namungona Children's Art Center to learn about our educational and therapeutic art activities. Enjoy, ponder and purchase art. Proceeds support the Center and our related community activities. Click the adjacent image to view a poster with details.

Grand Opening of Namungona Children's Art Center Oct. 3
Gala celebration of the opening of our new kids art center in Namungona will be held Oct. 3. The Center is on the Hoima road in Namungona opposite Mvule boda-boda stage. There will be free art materials and instruction for any kids who come, art and craft items for sale, music and dancing and visits by distinguished guests and community leaders. Please join us.

Click image for large poster.

Arts in Health at U/FL Benefits Children's Art Center
Students in the Arts in Health program at University of Florida in Gainseville held and art sale recently and donated the proceeds to Namungona Children's Art Center to help buy desks and tables. The event is called "InchxInch." The club gets art donated from the community and members then they sell it by the square inch.

Brooke Borgert who helped run the event said, "Unfortunately we had to change venue last minute and had a rainstorm so our donation is a little lower than our projected amount but I hope it helps and we will definitely be in touch for our future events!"

New series of workshops have started at Mulago
A new series of workshops focused on creating handcrafted handbags, aprons, clothing and other items has started at Infectious Diseases Institute at Mulago Hospital. Workshop leaders are Yusuf Ssali, Kaspa Kasambeko and James Nsamba.

More Photos


Building a new children's art center in Namungona
Uganda Art Consortium now has a new building in Namungona to house our Children's Art Center. It is a converted 20 ft. shipping container that now will contain our office, gallery, studios and clasrooms. It is smack on the main road in the heart of Namungona across from the Mvule boda-boda stage. The new gallery/studio/office/workshop will serve hundreds of local kids with classes in painting, drawing, jewelry making and other craft skills. Funds to buy and equip the new headquarters came from our 2013 Indiegogo campaign and a generous donation from Harriet Koch.

For more photos and other info about our programs in Uganda, see my Uganda 2015 blog.

Tusiime named Internatonal Guest Fiber Artist in Boston Show
Mathias Tusiime was named International Guest Fiber Artist at The Theresa Show, January 7-Feb. 13 at the Harriet Tubman Gallery of United South End Settlements (USES) in Boston. Founded in 2013, this annual exhibition celebrates the legacy and work of Theresa India-Young (1950-2008), fiber artist and long-time South End resident. The show featured Tusiime's oil paintings on hand made paper composed of cloth fibers, leaves, grass and other natural materials.


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