The Stray Bulletin

Arts and culture in East Africa and beyond

Burning In A Sea Of Flowers February 28, 2010

Filed under: Art reviews — Sophie Alal @ 2:31 pm
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Extract of an art review for AfricanColours.

Anxiety by Paul Ndema

Afriart Gallery in Kampala describes itself as “a global distributor for original art by emerging talent.” Things have been a little less rosy after a recent downsizing – perhaps the economic downturn has gobbled up some art aficionados and buyers. Nevertheless it remains an important rallying point for young artists in Uganda.

Downstairs, the main exhibition hall features the emerging talent, 25-year old Ronnie Ogwang, with well-established contemporary artists, the 35-year old David Kigozi and the elusive Paul Ndema – both of whom are on show in the permanent collection.

These were mostly new paintings. Of these three young artists, Paul Ndema brings a sense of mystery and pathos; Ronnie Ogwang glorifies the female persona while David Kigozi renders the daily, domestic scenes, with unabashed delight.

Tucked away are a few hand-painted fabrics hanging on a rack. The wall next to it is hung with an impressive array of contemporary art gracing the short stairwell leading to the exhibition rooms upstairs, where the permanent collection spends its days.

Paul Ndema appears to get his inspiration from the illustrious style of Gustave Klimt, particularly in his use of elegant, golden, and colourful details. In his painting “Anxiety,” there are other likenesses to Klimt’s work such as the detail in the flowers bedecking a woman whose eyelids are shut.

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