“My sculptures draw inspiration from African blacksmiths and metal workers who hold a key position in society—sometimes revered, sometimes despised—their magical manipulation of one substance into another through the medium of fire has always set them apart. This transformation fascinates me, which is why my approach to sculpture is fundamentally African in style and depicts subjects of social, political and economical relevance. My work is executed in recycled scrap metal, welded together to give it another life and an artistic statement.”
Bwambale Ivan Allan will exhibit outside Uganda Museum, Kira Rd.
Ivan Allan Bwambale studied sculpture at the Margaret Trowell School of Industrial and Fine Arts at Makerere University. After graduating in 2012 he became a lecturer in sculpture at the YMCA Comprehensive Institute, Kampala.
As a student, Ivan took part in the group exhibition ‘Independence’ (2010) and the ‘Best of Me’ exhibition (2011) at Makerere Gallery. In March 2012 his work was shown at the International ArtExpo in New York and he gained further international acclaim by participating in the ‘African Stones Talk Sculpture Symposium’ in Kenya where he was nominated ‘Best Male Artist.’
Ivan’s artistic practice is represented by sculptures made from welded scrap metal and whose inspiration is drawn from ”African blacksmiths and metal workers who hold a key position in society.” He explains, “Their magical manipulation of one substance into another through the medium of fire has always set them apart and it is this transformation that fascinates me.”
Nakayima: The Giver of Life
‘Nakayima: The Giver of Life’ artistically explores one of Uganda’s most prominent cultural sites: the sacred Nakayima tree in Mubende district. The site is believed to be the abode of Nakayima, the goddess of fertility and is composed of several different shrines and fire hearth places, each dedicated to different gods of Buganda. Known as a cultural centre for generations the tree is now sadly under threat of deforestation. “In this era of increasing cultural erosion, my project is rooted in the mystical philosophy of the site.”
Through a series of sculptures depicting the different elements of the shrine, Ivan sets out to tell the story of Nakayima. His sculptures are supported by audios from the cultural site and his modified container creates an environment of worship and blessing. To add to the authenticity of the installation, Ivan uses music which plays an integral role in traditional worship.
Ivan’s intention is to create awareness surrounding Ugandan cultural history. In his attempt to artistically document culture, his work communicates well with the location of its placement. Not only does the Uganda Museum aim to document Uganda’s cultural past but, just like the Nakayima tree, it too has been threatened by destruction. Ivan’s statement can be read as a subversive reminder to the Ugandan Government on the importance of preserving the country’s rich cultural history.