Saturday July 5 2014

Using art to preserve the African culture


In an attempt to overcome modern, individualistic, and fragmented approaches to the fast fading African cultures, Carolyn Joanne Adams opted to hold a ceramic art exhibition last Friday at Afriart Gallery Kampala with aimed at retrieving the old norms and comparing them to the current Western imported cultures.

Adams’ sculptures are a contemporary take on the clay water/liquid storage container, but one can still link them to a rich history. In this case, the history interspersed in the molding, sprinkled with the glazing is for the Japadhola people where Adams hails from. Each piece seemed to be a story in itself. From the way the glazing was done to how she played with different shades of clay, to how she chose to introduce colour and texture on the surfaces of the water containers, it was apparent she had made a deliberate effort to give each its own personality.

Nyako –othik, which proved quite popular with art enthusiasts at the show, represents the trunk of a wide hipped shapely woman, who must be a maiden judging by the perky bosom. The verve of youth can be seen bursting out of the outlines of the graceful contours. No wonder the artist named it the way she did. It is a direct description of a maiden ready for marriage in Luo.

“Memories of my childhood, some clear, some vivid come across strongly to me mentally, physically and socially now that am a grown woman, who understands our culture and why we should guard its heritage jealously,” said Carolyn of what inspired her collection.
As for how her work will be interpreted, she said “My mind may not be the same as yours; your perception to this may be different,”