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The Thriving Ugandan Art Scene Reflects the Boom in African Art as Collector Interest Grows

The Ugandan art scene has experienced significant growth in recent years, with the emergence of multiple commercial art galleries in Kampala. Lilian Nabulime, a sculptor, recently held a successful solo exhibition at the Xenson Art Space, reflecting the expanded opportunities available to local artists. There is a sense of excitement among curators, as modern African art gains global interest, and Ugandan artists are gaining recognition and achieving record sales at international auctions. Daudi Karungi, founder of Afriart Gallery, has played a crucial role in nurturing talented artists and providing them with international visibility. The art scene in Uganda has also seen the emergence of alternative spaces, such as a disused banking hall in Masaka, where artists are gaining recognition and achieving international sales. The regular art auction in Nairobi has played a critical role in the reappraisal of Ugandan artists, with some pieces reaching high prices at auction. However, despite this growth, the collecting class in Uganda remains small, and gallerists struggle to make sales, relying on collectors outside Uganda. To address this, the Contemporary Art Society of Uganda was formed with the goal of promoting the emergence of private and corporate art collections in the country. Ugandan attorney Linda Mutesi, an art collector and member of the society, emphasizes the importance of collecting art as an intervention to retain Africa’s unique cultural resources. Overall, the art scene in Uganda is experiencing a pivotal moment, with local artists gaining international recognition, and efforts being made to expand the collecting class within the country.

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