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Wamala Kyeyune’s ‘Mabati’ Project Is an Avenue for Artists to Express Themselves

Prompted by the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent closing of the Nexus Arts Gallery physical space, Joseph together with Tailor Winston built a website which allows one to explore work by artists of culturally diverse and First Nations backgrounds from South Australia and beyond as curated by Nexus Arts. The site also supports leading artists, at all stages of their careers, to engage and connect with audiences, and to contribute to an intercultural understanding of Australian contemporary arts.

‘’We are all experiencing strong emotions in this unique time. Express yourself, and share that frustration, anger, or hope, in our communal digital artwork ‘Mabati’ presented as part of the exhibition I AM BECAUSE YOU ARE: illustrations of existence.’’

At Wamala’s home, these iron fences are turned into walls of expression through writing, spraying, drawing and advertising. The artist has in turn sent out an invite to others to use the digital platform to add their own messages – perhaps of anger or frustration in these challenging times, or perhaps of hope and solidarity.

’All my artworks presented in this exhibition are characterized by corrugated iron sheets suggested in their backgrounds. ‘’

What is the social role of Art?

To timestamp life and times of existence through unlimited bundles of self-expression. Art should evoke different emotions that could possibly result into positive reactions.

About the 'Mabati' project.

My appreciation for the beauty in the struggle has become profound over time. Elements that usually appear in the background and aerials are ignored and often thought of as less important.One might think they can’t stand alone and represent a story, community, culture, On the contrary,Mabati can.

My recent works are characterized by suggested corrugated iron sheets of all forms. These mainly symbolize barriers, levels, plus lessons that surround our life’s journey to self-actualization. Having painted themes like bread winners, Uganda in frames, I observed that I old dilapidated houses and slums generally appeared in my works. I thought I could just zoom in on something and break down a big story into everyone can relate to.

I also use these iron sheets because people tend to hide what they’re are constructing by fencing themselves behind these sheets, funnily people on the outside turn this iron fence into a wall of expression by Writing /spraying/drawing and advertising on this “platform”.

Inspiration Behind the project

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”- Leonardo da Vinci. Inspiration hit as I was designing oil barrels at a Nyege Nyege stage in 2018. The experience of painting the drums felt like I was covering them up so as the “rich society” could accept them into their big party. I thought I could do just a painting about that. Not covering up and being real.

Having painted themes like bread winners, Uganda in frames, I observed that I painted a significant number of old dilapidated houses and slums generally appeared in my works as I like setting my stories in places we know; our home.

I thought I could just zoom in on something. One item and break down a big story into an object everyone can relate to.

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