Dedicated to artists from the African continent and the diaspora, the gallery programme showcases contemporary art across painting, sculpture, textile, and mixed media installations. The gallery’s inaugural exhibition Dream spotlights Ugandan artist Collin Sekajugo.
Placing the question of cultural identity at the heart of his work, Sekajugo invites viewers to engage with the familiar. Presented in the gallery are XX figurative collages produced using found and locally sourced objects, offering commentary on contemporary consumer culture. Sekajugo delves into the complexities of assimilating into a dominant culture while simultaneously highlighting the ambiguity of cultural identity, which often leads to internal conflicts.
Through his work, the artist challenges preconceptions about belonging, migration, and multiculturalism. Those who engage with his exhibitions are encouraged to contemplate their own identities. Sekajugo employs vivid colors and precise lines, utilizing techniques of superposition and assemblage. In his creations, he skillfully integrates culturally significant materials of Ugandan origin, such as bark cloth, fabrics, and found objects. These materials symbolize art’s capacity to interlace disparate elements into a harmonious whole.
Sekajugo’s practice also draws from history, particularly African history and its diaspora. His works are infused with historical references that bring to light both the wounds and triumphs of African history. He underscores the importance of acknowledging and preserving collective memory among the public. Sekajugo keenly observes the symbols of a globalized ruling class, painting a portrait of a society that holds not only influence but, above all, globalization.
Sekajugo encourages us to reflect upon our own identity and to acknowledge the profound connections that bind us as human beings.
Farah Fakhri, the African Art Specialist behind the eponymous gallery, shares her excitement about the launch, “Ivory Coast is a country with a rich cultural heritage, our goal is to create a space that inspires dialogue of African Artists, bridging the gap between cultures and fostering a sense of unity.”