“Today we are seeing a huge dumping phenomenon of second hand products and cheap Chinese brand name knock-offs in many African cities. Most of the second hand goods come through the sea via these containers. Inevitably the containers are the vehicles of a phenomenon that is blind to unsuspecting citizens of these third world economies who at the same time are unaware of the pending gross repercussions.
Through my art I’m trying to create an awareness of the dangers of dumping, which is now common in contemporary Africa. I strive to ask critical but emotionally sensitive questions and solicit information from the audience by highlighting this issue. In turn I believe this will stimulate a thought process and potentially perpetrate the necessary action. There is a critical question however: Can there be a seamless co-existence of technology and economic advancement without tremendous damage to the environment?
My art seeks to represent some conceptual and abstract answers to this question.”
Xenson will exhibit at the Railway Station, Kampala Rd, Nakasero.
Samson Ssenkaaba aka Xenson graduated in 1999 from the Margaret Trowell School of Industrial and Fine Arts, Makerere University majoring in graphic design and painting. Since then, his works have been shown in numerous exhibitions and fashion shows in Uganda and abroad.
Most recently, he held solo exhibitions at the Emin Pasha Hotel and AfriArt Gallery in Kampala and at the Maritime Hotel in Mauritius. In 2010 Xenson exhibited at MishMash Gallery, Kampala, won the Fibre to Fashion Contest in Nairobi, participated in the Molato na Brazza fashion festival in Brazzaville, the International Film Festival, Rotterdam and created an installation for Bayimba International Festival of the Arts in Kampala.
Xenson is a founding member of Cream de la Mode Africaine, an association of designers from ten African countries seeking to promote African fashion, textiles and fabrics on the continent and overseas. He is also the co-founder of Ugandan Hip Hop Foundation, an association that empowers the youth through urban culture and hip hop music.
Xenson’s KLA ART 012 project is a visual and conceptual analysis of the dumping phenomenon on a variety of different levels. On one level, as indicated by the title, the project looks at dumping processes that take place in Kampala where the majority of the city’s waste ends up in the Nakivubo channel, one of the waterways polluting Lake Victoria. He reflects on a time in the Buganda Kingdom when the community assumed responsibility for their environment, acted out in bulungi bwansi community works.
Today littering has become a common and unhealthy habit in Kampala and the pending gross repercussions are seldom taken into consideration. By drawing attention to this problem, the project creates awareness of the dangers of dumping and addresses the importance of society’s waste management.
“Today we are seeing a huge dumping phenomenon of second hand products and cheap Chinese brand name knock-offs in many African cities. At first sight this gives the false impression of charity and affordability.
However, there seems to be a deliberate initiative from ‘western’ economies to dump what is no longer needed into ‘third world’ economies. The life span of these products is very short and they soon end up as waste.”
Most of these second hand goods and Chinese products come by sea in the shipping containers that are used as exhibition spaces for KLA ART 012. Making use of two of these containers, one on top of the other, Xenson creates an overwhelming sea of plastics and non-biodegradable waste that pours from the double story height onto the ground below.
Xenson’s project is a formidable reference to hegemonic power relations within the global market. It draws attention to the potential double sided character of charity and challenges the contemporary culture of consumerism.
‘Nakivubo Channel’ is kindly sponsored by GIZ – Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit