Art, Culture, Books and Travel

Bonhams auction gives Ugandan art an international platform and supports creative charities

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The proceeds were shared between two innovative charities working in very different areas of need within the region. 32º East Ugandan Arts Trust have been established to support and develop Ugandan Artists and expose their work to an international audience. Child’s Foundation ensures that abandoned babies grow up in families in Uganda and not orphanages.
They were awarded Just Giving’s Most Creative Charity of the Year in 2011. The auction where at the Bonham’s renowned `Africa Now’ sale, an auction of modern and contemporary African art which annually achieves world record sums for African artists. Prices for the works range from £1,000 to £10,000 plus.
The artworks have been selected by 32º East who are working with featured artists: Ronex Ahimbisibwe, Jude Kateete, Collin Sekajugo, David Kigozi, Edison Mugalu, Tusiime Mathias and Kizito Fred Kakinda. A notable young Ugandan artist whose work, ‘Simple Friendships’ was featured in this sale is Jude Kateete (born 1974).
Kateete grew up in the rural district of Mpigi during the 1981-86 civil war in Uganda. Some of the profound memories of his childhood were the Tanzanian People’s Defence Forces who had joined the struggle to liberate Uganda from the dictatorship of Idi Amin.
The soldiers, called Abakombozi from Kiswahili meaning ‘Liberators’ used to jog in the mornings and evenings past Kateete’s house. This imagery remains with Kateete as a symbol of hope in a war torn childhood. Another leading Ugandan artist Ronex Ahimbisibwe, (born 1977), offers a work titled ‘Am Solo’. Am Solo’ depicts a solitary figure, silent, on top of a collage mountain.
Ronex says: “My work bridges my fantasies, experiences and realities. I believe the power of an artist lies in creating worlds and taking the viewer into those worlds with you.”
The event has also received support from the African Arts Trust, a charitable trust setup to act as a catalyst for the emergence and growth of locally managed and sustainable art organisations in Africa. The evening was sponsored by Tullow Oil, patrons of Ugandan art, and offers a unique opportunity to celebrate the artistic and charitable successes of Uganda.

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