Whabira’s Studio: Forming new vocabularies as a shared language

Dana Whabira is a Zimbabwean artist, architect and cultural facilitator, who lives and works in Harare. An architect by training, she studied art and design at Central Saint Martin’s College in London. 

 

How can new vocabularies be formed through research and context-driven practice? Can we envision this as a shared language?

The workshop will examine the different ways in which research and locality manifest in artworks. The idea is to highlight issues around the role of context, the reading of site, the meaning of place, and the importance of locality, history and memory. The workshop will problematise the myriad of methodologies and modes of research practices, including the complexities and tensions around working with archives, alternative archives and conceptualisation of what/who constitutes research/knowledge. 

Together with the participants we will explore perspectives of collaborative learning, through engaging with modes of working, sharing, exchange and discursively-produced knowledge. The processes are drawn from both my artistic practice and independent experience running Njelele Art Station in Harare. I would like to be able to offer the participants access to a broader network of artists and skills. As such I would like to draw on a network of artists and propose inviting several to contribute toward the workshop programme. These could be selected for their particular expertise as well as their engagement with research-based practice. The nature of the contribution will be determined as the programme develops, one way would be for artists to join via Skype.1 

Based on an ethos of sharing, participants will be expected to give presentations, where work can be shared and other artists can contribute and advise. Sharing meals, screenings and readings all form part of the discursive platform of research. Ideas and artists will travel to the Uganda National Records Centre and Archives and biennale sites in order to research place as a possible driver of process/production, as well as any other places of interest raised during the workshop. Further knowledge exchange may occur through potential cross-disciplinary discussion between artists from a wide range of fields and disciplines (such as architects, historians, writers, poets, musicians, archive/collection managers and other keepers of knowledge) based in Kampala. 

 

APPRENTICES IN WHABIRA'S STUDIO 

The following young artists have been selected and will be participating as apprentice in Dana Whabira's studio. When international travel allows after the peak of the covid-19 pandemic, they will meet and work on their collective art piece in August 2020 and exhibit during KAB20. At the moment they are interacting online through Zoom and Whatsapp.

Amina Kadous (1991-) is a visual artist currently exploring concepts of memory.

AMINA KADOUS (Egypt)

Amina Kadous (1991-) is a visual artist currently exploring concepts of memory. Born in Cairo, Egypt in 1991. she received her Bachelor in Fine Arts from Tufts University and The School of the Museum of Fine arts in Boston. She believes in the ephemerality of experience. “Nothing lasts. Documentation of experiences, of the objects and moments of the physical world only lasts when it is passed on.” She believes a Photograph is an object that holds memories and meanings, keepsakes that give life. Photography as an art has been a medium allowing her to treasure, hold and bless the past she has not lived but only through the stories and eyes of those who have narrated it. Her work is a linkage between the past and present through the layers of time as they fold and unfold. The exploration of time serves, for her, as a means for understanding who she is as a person. Characterizing herself as an explorer of ideas, she is driven by the spirit of inquiry as she seeks to comprehend the meanings and hidden ambiguities of lives, not her own, through the interactive nature of viewer, photographer, object and environment. She is driven by experience as a woman and an Egyptian. That is her signature: her work, like time, evolves… 

Her work has been exhibited in London, Boston, Paris and Mali. Also exhibiting her project, “Who’s fault is it?” at THAT ART FAIR in Cape Town, South Africa. She recently exhibited her project “A crack in the Memory of My Memory” at the 12th edition of the Bamako Biennale of Photography and being awarded the Centre Soleil d’Afrique Prize. 

Anna Karima Wane is a young video artist from Dakar. 

ANNA KARIMA WANE (Senegal)

Anna Karima Wane is a young artist from Dakar, Senegal. She works primarily in video, and is interested in the intersection between experimental and documentary filmmaking. She also has an interest in performance. Her work aims to center the voices of people from marginalized communities.

Jim Joel Nyakaana is a Ugandan photographer

JIM NYAKAANA (Uganda)

Jim Joel Nyakaana started out his career as a wedding photographer in 2006. He traveled to many parts of Uganda to photograph traditional weddings. This allowed him  to experience other cultures, meet people from other communities and other countries.

"Making pictures is for me, an aesthetic reaction to being a historian, an artist and a storyteller living in the city. Using the Light, shadow, geometry and human presence of a single moment, I create an image that captures time, and archives the present for the future.

The Juxtaposition of the built environment and the human form is a recurring theme in his work, because spaces and places define who we are. He seeks to explore reality as it appears to the eyes of the passerby. 

His work is majorly conceptual, and always begins with interrogation of a place and the fraught relationship between humans and the land that we inhabit.  Though professionally trained as an accountant, he taught himself most of the basics of photography. 

 

Nadia Wamunyu is a 26 years old Kenyan visual artist.

NADIA WAMUNYU (Kenya) 

Nadia Wamunyu is a 26 years old Kenyan visual artist. She started drawing as soon as she was old enough to hold a pencil. She is inspired by other artists, known worldwide, who used to watch on television as they got awarded and even had prestigious exhibitions. Her inspiration and mentor has been Patrick Mubaki and Nadia dreams to be an example to other artists facing all types of challenges and show the world that we can all make it no matter our circumstance.

 

Roseline Olang Odhiambo is a visual artist from Kenya 

ROSELINE OLANG ODHIAMBO (Kenya)

Over the past six years, Roseline Olang has been committed to facilitating greater connection, accessibility, and transparency within big and small creative communities across various geographies, from South Africa, Eastern Africa to her time in the United States. In East Africa, she worked with key cultural organizations, including the Kuona Trust Arts Center, Circle Art Agency, 32° East | Ugandan Arts Trust and the Goethe Institut.

With her works she aims to contribute her background in Economics and entrepreneurship, as well as her insight as an artist herself to nurture a more inclusive, sustainable and robust arts and culture ecosystem. Most recently, Olang was selected as part of the first cohort to the MACAAL Professional Bootcamp, an initiative to build a Pan African class of young art professionals. She remains committed to critical programming, elevating the accessibility of opportunities for education and networking, and building sustainable models for the growth of development of Kenya’s creative and cultural industries.

Trevor Aloka is a 22 year old, self taught, mixed media visual artist based in Kampala. 

TREVOR ALOKA (Uganda)

Aloka  Trevor  is a 22 years old self taught, mixed media visual artist based in Kampala. He has been practicing art for three years . After completing college he pursued a mechanics course. However, he never finished the course and instead joined the Kampala art scene through 32° East Arts Trust Uganda, an Art Space located in Kansanga. As an artist he is inspired by daily events in the society thus creating art and creating a platform for discussion, debate and opinion on social issues.