Opening: 18 October 2021 - 29 October 2021
Dr Rose Kirumira is a guest artist in residence in the Visual Arts Department at Stellenbosch University. She has worked in the Fine Art sculpture studio on this new body of work over the course of the last year and a half. During this time she has shared her work and practices with the students and participated in undergraduate classes.
"My work interrogates the groundedness of cultural spaces, specifically material objects, personalities and narratives with problematic meanings due to the displacement from their historical craftsmanship and performative context. I explore the connections and relationships between objects, object making and issues of identity placement of a personal nature and, own lived experiences. The artwork for me then takes on a new responsibility, it becomes a tool for visual affirmation, proclamation and emancipation.
The process, treatment of surfaces and mark-making is integral to my work. I reconstruct form as concept, mixing old and new, a palette of wood and metal. The element of repetition and re-imagining of cultural objects and contexts on a monumental scale is central to my sculpture projects. I have found that the idea of using various techniques of assembling, hammering, fastening and stitching, chisel marks, singing, or metal inlays always comes together as moments of expression. This is not always simple, especially when I leave my own familiar space at home in Uganda and work in different or ‘foreign’ environments. In such instances, I seek to find similarities of objects, of spaces and of personalities but also disparities in how to approach the process. I then aspire to create a fusion of experiences that speaks to the cultural objects. My concept of form changes, I express in the natural and industrial, paper and cloth, wire and thread. A new forum for conversation emerges, or a different choral ensemble, with people and objects carried to my personal space of creative expression.
The body of work I am currently investigating is inspired by ‘The Cooking Pot’ known as ‘sefuliya’ among the Baganda of Uganda. Borrowed from a Swahili word “sufuria”, it commonly refers to a flat based, deep sided lipped and handleless cooking pot or container. It is widely used by the Bantu of Eastern and Southern Africa. Traditionally it was a clay pot known as ‘entamu’.
Building off my previous body of work on the Omweso, a mancala board game, e’sefuliya project embraces the socio-cultural connection and transformations in form and function of cooking pots as experienced by my stay in Stellenbosch, South Africa. As typical household items e’sefuliya present a tremendous personal opportunity for reflection about the narratives surrounding domesticity and the negotiation of personal spaces therein. Metal cooking pots, probably introduced by Arab traders in Eastern Africa in the 16th century, gradually replacing the traditional entamu clay pot, brought with them a shift in the social cultural dynamic in the cooking habits of communities where they were introduced as well as the socially and symbolically constructed functions of entamu.
In the Exhibition at Stellenbosch University Gallery (GUS), I use the concepts of time, form and function based on a collection of patched-up and de-commissioned e’sefuliya that I travelled with from Uganda. I engage in a conversation depicting an intimate life-long relationship between e’sefuliya, its owner(s) through the personality of Kabiite, and firewood. I have carved, stitched, bolted, hammered and molded the connections, intersections including divergences in their relationship. I engage in conversational reflection about stories of “own-histories” against “pot-life experiences”. Individual narratives derived either from cooking traditions or social demands have made a visual argument for new pot ‘objects’, in this case beyond e’sefuliya, as a resource for reflection and commentaries about the current-day personal space. The pot becomes a vessel of responsibility and the next forum for conversation".
Participating: Dr Rose Namubiru Kirumira
GUS (GALLERY UNIVERSITY STELLENBOSCH)
Address: Corner of Dorp and Bird Street, Stellenbosch
Tel: 021 882 8899
Gallery Hours: Mon - Fri: 10:00 - 17:00. Sat: 10:00 - 13:00.
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