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Bags show diversifies use of art spaces

The year 2016 was basically highlighted by the search for alternative spaces.

It wasn’t just in the discipline of visual arts, but even other artistic practices like theatre, music, dance and poetry, among others, have tried to redefine themselves in different spaces.

It could have been the first thing that made the art exhibition dubbed ‘Bad Bags/Good Bags: All Around the World’ to stand out. With everything happening in a small cubicle, the exhibition was showcasing art from Ugandan artists and German artists from different disciplines like dance, music, photography and visual arts, of course.

The exhibition, according to Reinhard Wanzke, the organiser, was inspired by the intrigue around bags. For instance, when a person is holding a bag, it’s considered safe. Yet when the same bag is abandoned, it will become a threat and will cause fear.

Some of the bags that were used for the exhibition

The show involves seven bags where art works are placed and then exhibited. In this way, people that show up for the exhibition don’t see the art, but the bags.

Happening at the Jua Kali craft market in Nsambya, the show was the second edition of the seven chapters that are meant to happen in five more cities around the world.

The first edition happened in Frankfurt, Germany with all the art hidden in the seven bags. With the Ugandan chapter, the Ugandan art was in the bags, while the Frankfurt art was on display. As the exhibition goes to another city, the Ugandan art and Frankfurt art will be displayed, while that of that particular place will be concealed in the bags.

Donald Wasswa, one of the contributing Ugandan artists, says the concept is good since it allows a community away from home to experience Ugandan art and culture that was on Thursday placed in bags.

Some of the Ugandan art, according to Wanzke, included music by Giovanni Kremer Kiyingi, a portrait by Wasswa, a traditional mat by Ntwigah Riungu and a number of collaborations among others.

The writer and Robinah Nansubuga, an independent curator at the exhibition

The artworks from Frankfurt on display are a mixture of disciplines ranging from visual art, audio visual presentation, photography, sculpture and installations, among other forms.

The works are railing along lines of spirituality, travel, parenthood, earth, beliefs and, above all, the culture that was carefully carried in the bags when this whole show started in Frankfurt at the end of 2016.

Besides being a traveling exhibition, the show was also being used to launch an art shop for the Rainbow House of Hope, a children’s home based in Nsambya. In fact, one of the art pieces in the bags was a creation by two  boys from the home.

The Bad Bag/Good Bag show was held in a space smaller than what many artists are used to, yet in some way, the show managed to make sense and still gave agency to the seven works in the bags and seven on display.

The show is expected to wrap in July in Frankfurt where Wanzke will then hold a grad exhibition and for one last time showcase all the art works he will have collected from the seven cities he will have visited.


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