The Studio Concept

curatorial concept 'the studio'


The third edition of Kampala Art
Biennale titled, “THE STUDIO,”
is a Libretto written by Simon Njami.

A libretto is the text used in, or intended for, an extended musical work such as an opera, operetta, masque, oratorio, cantata or musical. The term libretto is also sometimes used to refer to the text of major liturgical works, such as the mass, requiem and sacred cantata, or the story line of a ballet.

For KAB18, Simon Njami has decided to invite 7 internationally renown artists to open their studios in Kampala to young Ugandan, East African, 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 by 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 are selected according to their own practices in order to cover all the different aspects of contemporary art today (sculpture, textile, performance, photography, video, painting, installation…).

A new page is being written in the wide history of biennales, and we are proud to do this in and from Africa.