Acaye Kerunen and Collin Sekajugo: Radiance They Dream in Time
Published on the occasion of the two-person exhibition Radiance: They Dream in Time, featuring Acaye Kerunen and Collin Sekajugo, in Uganda’s inaugural national pavilion at the 59th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, Venice, Italy (2022).
Kerunen and Sekajugo’s dual ways of making art, despite their different aesthetic approaches, find common ground in their respective visions of materiality and form. Says curator Shaheen Merali: “Radiance: They Dream in Time refers to the essential knowledge and lived experiences of Kerunen and Sekajugo in speaking to the many different territories of Uganda as well as to urban trade and living conditions in its urban centres. Both artists have been actively working with formal and informal archives of Uganda’s dynamic visual culture.”
Acaye Kerunen’s process as a socially engaged artist foregrounds the work of local and regional Ugandan craftswomen, celebrating them as integral collaborators and elevating the artistic practices of local artisans who are the gatekeepers of their local wetlands, drawing upon a sacred and unspoken knowledge of ecological stewardship. By deconstructing utilitarian materials and artisan crafts, Kerunen repositions the work in order to tell new stories and posit new meaning. The act of re-installing these deconstructed materials is a response to the agency of women’s work in Africa and an acknowledgment of the role that this artistic labor plays in the climate ecosystem.
Collin Sekajugo approaches his work from a distinct, aesthetic departure point that resides in his repeated return to pop culture and the omnipresent influence exuded by the global mainstream, conversing and critiquing its many biases across visual, oral and digital cultures. Since 2012, Sekajugo has worked with the manipulation of the common stock image to reveal its inherent biases of entitlement and privilege largely modeled on the Western self. Sekajugo’s artistic practice highlights a contemporaneous anthropological reversal of this mainstream culture through the lens of a decidedly African sense for irreverence and play on the ad-hoc. Conceptually, the works of Sekajugo become pure theatre, a hacking of identity that exposes some truths behind these stock images that quietly continue to colonize the entire globe by the weight of their own popularity.
Edited by Shaheen Merali.
Hardcover, 118 pages
Milan: Skira Editore, 2022
9 x 10.5 inches