The Studio – Call for Apprentices


Kampala Biennale, KAB18, launches a call for young artists worldwide to participate in the studios that will be offered by the seven artists invited by Librettist Simon Njami.

KAB18 is a story of transmission from one generation of artists to the next. Unlike the common format of major biennales which historically show and promote the best of their time, as a platform where professionals and the market can come and choose the next big artist, KAB18 is choosing a format vehicles our continent’s original values of sharing and transferring knowledge. Thus, 2018 will take on a master / apprentice format to allow for the transmission of artistic skill from international contemporary art masters to young artists. This is especially crucial as it evokes the traditional African transfer of knowledge from the experienced to the future generation.

For KAB18, Simon Njami invites 7 internationally renown artists to open their studios in Kampala to young Ugandan, African and international artists.

The tradition of the studios has always been fundamental in art history, be it in the West or in Africa where, contrary to the ethnological reading, the great masters used to work with a crowd of apprentices and pupils. Masters such as Michelangelo would always select, among the most talented youth, those who would have the privilege to assist him in his realisations. Some of those apprentices later became masters and kept the tradition alive. This training was not only technical and practical but also spiritual and philosophical, especially when it concerned religion.

Modern practices, notably in Europe, have turned the artist into a solitarian Genius who creates masterpieces in the silence of his studio. Africa was not a preserve this trend. It seems to us of the utmost importance for Africa to reinvent new ways of addressing art, in a more endogenous manner. Africa is still a space where the community plays a critical role. It is, through this third edition of the Kampala biennale, our aim to revitalise ancient practices that are more than needed in our contemporary world. Practices that would bring back notions like transmission and togetherness.”

– Simon Njami

The Masters will open their studios for a 10 day period in Kampala, Uganda, according to their own practices in order to cover all the different aspects of contemporary art today (sculpture, textile, performance, photography, video, painting and installation).

Why KAB18’s concept is different
from any other biennales?

KAB18 is a studios programme with simultaneous workshops that run from May to August 2018, and an international exhibition that will take place from August 24th to September 24th, in the city of Kampala, with a catalogue, a symposium, the KAB Lab, and the Education programme. The opening week will run from August 24th to August 30th, 2018.


Aida Muluneh – May 21-31
Pascale Marthine Tayou – June 4-13
Radenko Milak – June 15-25
Abdoulaye Konate  –  June 25 – July 4
Godfried Donkor  – July 5-19
Myriam Mihindou –  July 10-25
Bili Bidjocka – July 20-30

Who can apply to participate in The Studios?

  • You are a young artist, i.e currently training at an art school or at the beginning of your career.
  • You are proficient in English.
  • You are able to provide your own travel, accommodations and daily expenses for the duration of your stay in Kampala (or you have a sponsor).
  • Young artists from all over the world are eligible to apply.

How to apply? 

  1. Fill in the online application form (CALL IS NOW CLOSED) before 13th April 2018
  2. Select maximum two studios/Masters of your preference (Please note that you will be selected to participate to only one studio).
  3. Upload short motivation letter addressed to the Master you wish to work with (you can apply to a max of 2 studios) in English.
  4. Upload a short CV / Artist bio (in the same document).
  5. Upload your portfolio of relevant works,  or online links to your work.
  6. Hit the submit button and you will receive a confirmation email from us asap.

What happens when you are
accepted in the programme?

  • KAB18 will help you by any means to support you to access external funds for your travel and accommodation e.g. by writing you an invitation letter and helping you with contacting your School, or Embassy, or any funding institution you would share with us.
  • When you are selected to participate to the studios and consequently the Biennale, the KAB18 administration office will contact you and provide you with the necessary acceptance letter and other documents required to facilitate your visa/travel and stay in Kampala.
  • You will be asked to sign a letter of commitment, where you agree to be responsible for attending the workshops and studio days with the Master. You are free to decide to stay in Kampala until the KAB18 opening or come back for it, depending on your own resources.
  • Your sponsors will have the opportunity to show their logo and the mention of their support in KAB18 communication documents (press release, programme, etc.), KAB18 website and the catalogue.
  • You will be welcomed at Entebbe’s airport in Uganda at your arrival and departure.
  • You will follow the studio of the selected Master during a period of  7 days.
  • The art work(s) created during the Studio, if it’s a collective project or an individual piece, will be exhibited as part of the Biennale exhibition. This same work, with your name acknowledged, will be published in the catalogue and online.
  • Simon Njami, as the Librettist of the Biennale, will select the art works exhibited in consultation with the Masters.
  • The individual work(s) exhibited will remain your property. In case of a collective work, the ownership will be discussed with the Biennale, the Masters and the Librettist* .

* Terms & Condition for enrollment will apply. KAB18 Management is also authorized to make changes to above mentioned procedures when necessary