The Stray Bulletin

Arts and culture in East Africa and beyond

Public Art: Pillar of Peace Sheds Symbols of War April 19, 2010

Filed under: Art reviews — Sophie Alal @ 8:56 pm
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Published in AfricanColours  on Mon 12-04-2010

In the hub of Gulu Town’s main business centre is a sculpture by the renowned Ugandan artist David Kigozi – ‘Pillar of Peace’ unveiled in July 2009.

It was commissioned by the Dutch Embassy to commemorate their educational projects in Northern Uganda. And since Gulu is popularly considered the centre of Northern Uganda, to which the surrounding regions are culturally and economically linked, it was also a call to abandon arms. Therefore the sculpture seemingly radiates its steely shine to the whole region.

Pillar of Peace by David  Kigozi

Pillar of Peace by David Kigozi photographed by Bryan Lupton

When the ‘Pillar of Peace’ had just been put up, it depicted a life-sized boy and girl standing behind a neat pile of books.

They stared keenly at the page open before them, their arms leafing through large pages. At the sides of their feet were five guns cast aside. This symbolized their shift towards courting the acquisition of knowledge other than conflict.

However, this work also bears a sinister story that is not often noticed by casual onlookers. What were once five guns embedded in the concrete at the feet of the children have all but disappeared. Now there is only one gun embedded in the cement, the other four having been stolen. This is a constant source of distress for the artist who regarded it as his attempt at recording history. “I think I was disappointed, because this is now a destruction of a monument.” his voice falters and he adds, “It is as if the whole monument has been put down, or vandalised.”

Read the full article here