Ugandan Multimedia Artist Xenson's New Art Exhibition 'Lumiimamawugwe' Depicts His Reaction To The COVID-19 Pandemic

In the words of the iconic Nina Simone, an artist's duty is to reflect the times.  Xenson's new work encapsulates these words. 

The world has had to cope with a new reality for almost two years now, which has further exposed fundamental social and socio-economic issues rooted in inequality among other pertinent factors that we have all had to adapt to.

Ugandan multimedia artist Samson Ssenkaaba aka Xenson's latest art exhibition titled 'Lumiimamawugwe' depicts his reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic. The exhibition for this new project premiered on 6th November, and will run until 14 January 2021 at the Xenson Art Space; a multidisciplinary curated space aimed at nurturing a new creative generation providing space for artists to exhibit their work.

The multimedia artist is known for interrogating contemporary issues through various art forms, hence Lumiimamawugwe is no different.

About Lumiimamawugwe:

As expressed in a detailed instagram post, Lumiimamawugwe is Xenson’s reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic. During the first few days of the pandemic, as he went through his sketch book, he found sketches of portraits in masks and they were signed in 2015.

Although he could not immediately remember the inspiration behind the sketches, he remembered seeing some Chinese wearing masks around 2014 in down town Kampala. But also recalled going to Kabale, where the air and the smell was so clean and refreshing as compared to cosmopolitan Kampala. This in a way it triggered a series of drawings and ideas.

As the lockdown progresses, different terminologies were used to refer to the pandemic. “Senyigaomukwabwe”and"Lumiimamawugwe", were terms used mainly by presenters of Radio Simba and Central Broad Casting Services. Xenson picked great interest in the terminology LumiimaMawugwe as he found it deeply poetic, but also politically charged. Amidst the 2020 elections season and eventual violence that marked the election LumiimaMawugwe became the definitive reflection of the perilous nature of the election.

The artist further adds that the abstract could not have been timely. Many people, especially in the West lost their lives due to COVID-19, but also many opposing youth in Uganda found themselves behind bars, how Ironic! The pandemic became the difficult face of the election season. As part of the Standard Operation Procedures, economically, socially and spiritually the face mask became the new Talisman.

I'm sure we all have our views on the current status quo, but it would be interesting to see what we have experienced in almost two years from an artist's perspective, and better yet, our interpretation of their art, therefore, if you are in Kampala, head over to Xenson Art Space located at Kenneth Dale Drive, Kamwokya and check out this project. 

Sources:  Xenson Kafulu, Xenson Art Space | Instagram

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