Have you ever wondered why in most city suburbs there are always clothes hanging on the balconies of the now ever growing apartments?
It is quite a spectacular scene and one that creates wonderment when the reality spanks you that, on the ground floor of the apartments, and every street corner, you are likely to bump into a boutique or a clothes hawker. This makes you wonder when the wardrobe would ever be enough and people will stop buying more clothes.
In Demand and Supply exhibition at the Artspace, Collin Sakajugo and Joel Lukhovi question this ever growing demand for products and the incessant supply. The exhibition which opened last Saturday 12th November has its own intriguing way in which it engages the mind, the body and the soul in the revelries of life that borders the natural yet are very synthetic if not compelled ideologies.
Rwandan-Ugandan artist Sekajugo brings into play a very old ‘common’ or ‘Usual’ and compels a discussion over it. Working with acrylics, Sekajugo literally pours the Jerry can (Mtungi) into artistic discourse and serious discussion over what the common plastic container stands for, represents and means to different societies in Africa.
The jerry can represents the supply and demand chain. It is the container with which many products are carried from fuels like paraffin, petrol, to cooking oil and the obvious- water. Therefore, what Sekajugo does is placing the container right in the middle of the supply demand chain to highlight its importance and let the people decide. He is also bringing the invisible common to the visible to try and engage and evoke nostalgia besides underscoring the need to reevaluate human behavior over the use of the Jerry can. Besides acrylics, Sekajugo uses Mixed media with the Jerry can as a canvas and the central character. Here, he builds a character of open-mindedness by throwing the jerry can lid away. He says, he represents the idea that, it is open to get things in and also get stuff out. With that, he captures the spirit of the African openness and generosity ingrained in the spirit of unity.
Sekajugo is a house hold name in the Art industry. He has travelled the world exhibiting in various stages including the Smithsonian where his art is permanently on display. He is actively involved in promoting safety on the roads by encouraging motorcyclists to use helmets in his project “Art for Safety”. Furthermore, he runs Ivuka Arts in Kigali and Weaver Birds Arts Community in Masaka Uganda to help promote art and improve the economic and social status within his community. To him, as an artist, one has to have a ‘side hustle’ to feed art which is a tool for social transformation.
Joel Lukhovi on the other hand is a Kenyan born artist based at Kuona Trust Kenya. Unlike Sekajugo, Lukhovi documents spaces, the unusual and the common in Africa’s urban slums and estates, unlike the late photographer Malick Sidibe who brought out the lifestyles, urban hype and the Music of the 70’s in Mali in his incredible photography, in Lukhovi’s work, the spaces he captures would be nostalgia in hundreds of years to come when the present day generations would be remembering the good old days. Secondly, the work on display, brings out the modern day consumerism, its idiosyncrasies and love for exotic things. It captures the buzzing life of the city out of the CBD.
Lukhovi began photography in 2008. He has exhibited and participated in various activities in Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Somaliland, South Africa, Zimbabwe, England, Germany and France. He is currently documenting a series of works called, ‘African Cityzens’ together with Ugandan photographer Susan Waiswa. Lukhovi prefers black and white photography because it shows the details clearly without any distraction like the colour photos.
Demand and Supply exhibition ends on November 23