Ebifananyi 4. ‘Go Forward, Ham Mukasa’s take on Ugandan history is part of a series of publications and exhibitions that together form the artistic part of Andrea Stultiens’ PhD research.
There is no word for photograph in Luganda, the largest minority language in Uganda. ‘Ekifananyi’ (the singular of ‘Ebifananyi’) literally translates into ‘likeness’ and is used for any type of two-dimensional imagery. This research problematizes the apparent transparency of how meaning is generated in photographic images by developing stories based on photo collections in Uganda and the dialogues around them. (see www.HIPUganda.org and www.facebook.com/HIPUganda). The collected material is transformed into a series of small photo books and exhibitions that take place both in Uganda and in the Netherlands. Next to this, the working process is documented and reflected upon in a text that has the ambition to be a history in and of photographs (from and about Uganda).
‘Go Forward’ is an English translation of ‘Simuda Nyuma’, the Luganda title of a book triptych written by Ham Mukasa. The starting point for the exhibition is a collection of photographs from the Ham Mukasa family archive. The first presentation, which took place at Academy Minerva, included contributions by a range of Ugandan artists, and Ugandan and Dutch art students, who were invited by Stultiens to interpret specific moments and phenomena in history that were described by Ham Mukasa from their own vantage point.
Ham Mukasa (ca.1870-1956) was an important chief. An early literate and Christian convert, he wrote about the history he was part of. Stultiens found a list of described images that should have accompanied his writings on the reigns of three kings of the Buganda Kingdom. However, as far as Stultiens could see, these illustrations had not yet been made. The list became an open invitation to think about the history described.
Go Forward presents work by Achola Rosario, Lwanga Emmanuel, Eria Nsubuga, Nate Omiel, Papa Shabani, Violet Nantume, Fred Mutebi, Sanaa Gateja and students from Uganda Christian University and Academy Minerva.