The Kampala Art Biennale (KAB) challenges to make people understand how visual arts are useful to change our societies and change our minds. This idea is central to the EU Delegation’s support in presenting yet again, another edition of the KAB, following a successful partnership two years ago as part of actions to mark the 2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage. Preparations for the latest edition appeared to go as smoothly as the previous ones: eight internationally renowned artists were invited to create artworks in their specialised field, jointly with selected apprentices and then suddenly, Covid-19 happened. As a result, the KAB20 was forced to find a creative way to continue the journey yet cope with restrictions imposed worldwide by the pandemic. The result: a virtual art exhibition like no other!
Masters and apprentices have worked together in virtual spaces through zoom calls and what’s-app groups, engaging in online debates, sharing online resources, recordings, documentation, visualisations etc. Web developers, creative thinkers, 3D experts and digital artists have been mobilised to create a unique virtual art exhibition.
The KAB is a landmark event across the Kampala art scene, presenting fantastic potential in the creative industry, particularly for the youth. The result is a work of art in itself: online visitors are engaged in a lively journey, which is a very new experience. They enter virtual buildings; they will virtually climb on rooftops, virtually run through corridors, and virtually reach the peak of a journey on top of an apex mountain.
The EU Delegation is also particularly pleased to highlight that behind the virtual exhibition is an incredible team of young and courageous Ugandans who have made it against all odds. Thanks to them, the KAB20 is the only virtual 3-D biennale on the continent, as other African biennales have been postponed due to Covid-19. This is a good example to underline how important it is for governments to ensure online access, especially at a time when physical meetings and events are restricted for health reasons.
Besides the art exhibition, the KAB2020 includes dedicated workshops for young people in less privileged areas, such as Bwaise and Kiryandongo. The objective of these workshops, under the KAB20 theme “Get up Stand up” seeks to improve young people’s self-awareness about their role in society. In compliance with Covid-19 restrictions, 50 young people have been able to attend each workshop. Through art, dance and brainstorming, the young are encouraged to express themselves and find their own strength to address everyday problems they encounter. In turn, they are expected to share these skills with their peers.
We invite you to enter the virtual journey that the Kampala Art Biennale 2020 presents.