The Exhibition, opening on Thursday, March 19 at 5pm, is an outcome of the AtWork workshop held in Kampala in February 2015 in partnership with Margaret Trowell School of Industrial and Fine Arts, Maisha Foundation and lettera27.
“We need people who are not only artists, but thinkers. Some are already out there. We need to see the new generation.”
Simon Njami in Start Journal, Nov. 2014
The AtWork format started from a simple black notebook, which many people use to capture their thoughts, ideas, or sketches. This very personal item transits in the context of AtWork from the private to the public sphere, for example in the online exhibition AtWork. AtWork aims at empowering students and youth, by enabling them to develop empathy, creativity and imagination. AtWork is dedicated to critical thinking, considering learning and knowledge as integral and constitutive parts of the creative process. In the workshop the notebook becomes a tool and an object. The process of the critical debate in the group is captured and preserved by everyone individually in a notebook. The outcome in the form of those notebooks as objects and works of art is presented in an exhibition.
The workshop was initiated by Simon Njami – who already curated the Visionary Africa – Art at Work project in Kampala in 2012 – and is realized with lettera27, a non-profit cultural foundation. The format is conceived to be adaptable to various venues and contexts. AtWork has been implemented in different countries worldwide in partnership with local cultural organizations and with the support of Moleskine. Previous chapters on the African continent took place in Dakar, Senegal, in 2012 and in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, in 2013.
Makerere University’s art gallery Makerere Art Gallery/Institute of Heritage Conservation and Restoration (IHCR) and Margaret Trowell School of Industrial and Fine Arts (MTSIFA) have adopted the AtWork format and invited 20 students and young artists. The applicants have replied to an open call with a motivational letter reflecting on the question “Should I take off my shoes?” This simple question recalling the moment of entering sacred and unknown places was an invitation to reflect on the symbolism of crossing doorsills. During the 5-day workshop the participants then grappled with matters of identity and creativity. For the first three days, which were dedicated to discussion and the development of ideas, the participants were in residency together and spent most of their time at Maisha Garden, a landscaped garden and future cultural centre, created by renowned film director Mira Nair. The production phase then took place at Makerere Art Gallery.
The artworks in the AtWork Kampala Exhibition manifest individual transformation processes and reveal how critical thinking and debate in an inspiring community can liberate creative energy and artistic practice. The artists are invited to donate their notebooks to lettera27, if they choose to do so their notebooks become part of the collection. The collection combines the contributions from such prominent artists as Pascale Marthine Tayou as well as the works produced by the students at the workshop. It serves as an inspiration for the future AtWork formats and is used by lettera27 to implement the initiatives according to its mission.
Opening on Thursday, March 19 at 5pm
Adriko Joseph, Akoth Rebecca, Babirye Leilah, Gillian Stacey, Kagimu Joshua Godwin, Kazungu Martha, Kiconco Gloria, Kyambadde Frank, Mali Immy, Mugisha Batte, Mukyala Hasifah, Muzahuura Andrew Stuart, Muzoora Robert, Mwesiga Ian, Nabukenya Hellen, Namutebi Miriam, Nansubuga Robinah, Nantume Violet, Serubiri Moses, Ssewaya Megan, Suubi Sandra, Wasswa James, Watsala Harrison Davis
Simon Njami, advisor; Mira Nair, inspiration; Lilian Nabulime, facilitation; George Kyeyune, facilitation; Katrin Peters-Klaphake, exhibition curator Makerere Art Gallery/IHCR; Aida Mbowa, Maisha Garden; Fibby Kiora, Maisha Film Lab; Elena Korzhenevich and Adama Sanneh lettera27; Solomon E Okurut, camera; Ogwang Jimmy John, sound; Nabaale Frances, editing; Osi Otsemobor, research; James Zeere and Nicholas Busobozi, Creative Commons licenses introduction
AtWork online exhibition and Creative Commons license
AtWork promotes the sharing of knowledge and makes the works of art available under a ‘free’ license (CC BY-SA), which authorizes the use of the pictures on two conditions: the source must be acknowledged and all derivative works must be released under the same license.
The Creative Commons license and the web turn AtWork into a knowledge platform inspired by a share, remix, reuse legally logic, where visitors are simultaneously users, contributors and stakeholders. Exhibition of the notebook collection: atwork27.org