News

Uganda's Unknown Vintage Photographs

Uganda's lost vintage photographs resurface on History in Progress, an online archive geared toward digging up unknown histories in East Africa.


Posing to show off her mini dress. Photo by Kw Kaddu Wasswa.Uganda 1960's.

Kate Bomz for Okayafrica: Exactly how did History in Progress come about?

Andrea Stultiens: HIP started in August 2011. I had been working in Uganda for a couple of years on several photography projects. I have had a personal fascination with history as long as I can remember. After doing a photography exchange with children in Uganda and the Netherlands, I was curious to see photographs kept in Ugandan archives. Arthur Conrad Kisitu, who is a Kampala-based artist/photographer helped me to get access to the collection of Makerere University (the oldest university in East Africa), and then told me that his grandfather also had old photographs that might be of interest to me. This introduction led to a two year project, resulting in a traveling exhibition called The Kaddu Wasswa Archive at the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford (on display now until September of this year) and a book (see online version of it here).

When I was working on The Kaddu Wasswa Archive, I came across another collection of photographs. When I saw it, I was initially disappointed. The photographs were made by colonial administration and I felt they had a strong propaganda touch to them, showed an extremely one sided view of Uganda, and only rarely touched on the every day life documentation I was interested in. However, the person taking care of the photographs pointed out that it was important to add Ugandan perspectives to the colonial gaze. He was right of course, so I digitalized the photographs. Then they were just sitting on my hard disk, which also wouldn't give anyone the opportunity to add their perspective and information to what the photographs exhibit. So I started fantasizing about ways to share them. I didn't have any funding for it, so I knew it would have to be a low budget thing.

Prev Page
Next Page
Arts + Culture
Samuel Fosso, Self Portrait, 1977. International Center of Photography, Purchase, with fundsprovided by the ICP Aquisitions Committee, 2004 (19.2004) © Samuel Fosso, Courtesy JMPatras/Paris

These Portraits by African Photographers Reveal the Power In Self-Presentation

We take a tour through the International Center for Photography's "Your Mirror: Portraits from the ICP Collection", which features influential works from Malick Sidibé, Zanele Muholi, Samuel Fosso and more.

The eyes of the young woman in Zanele Muholi's "Anele, 'Anza' Khaba," look as if they're staring directly into your soul. With her arms folded against her chest, it seems she might be putting a guard up or that they might simply be trying to look cool for the camera. With portraiture especially, how far you decide to read into something is up to you, as often, the line between a subject's desire for self-presentation and what the photographer themselves seeks to convey, isn't always clear. These are the types of observations that the "Your Mirror: Portraits from the ICP Collection", sparked in my mind as I strolled through the space with its Director of Exhibitions and Collections, Erin Barnett.

"You learn a lot about yourself and about other people by looking at portraits, but not always what you think you know," she says. We also learn a lot about the person behind the lens. The ICP's exhibit features works from photographers from across the globe, with the mission of surveying "the nuanced ways people present themselves for the camera, how and by whom they are represented, and who is deemed worthy of commemoration." The works of four prominent African photographers are included in the exhibition: the Malian icon Malick Sidibé, Cameroon's Samuel Fosso, along with South African photographers Zanele Muholi, and Lolo Veleko. Their photographs, the settings, and who they choose to document, give us a glimpse into their vision as much as it does the subjects in their photographs (which for Samuel Fosso, in this case, is himself.)

Keep reading... Show less
Style

This Malick Sidibé Inspired Fashion Editorial Is a Fusion of Art, Protest and Identity

NYC-based photographer Mark Aghatise shares an exclusive fashion editorial inspired by the late Malick Sidibé with OkayAfrica.

This editorial by NYC-based photographer Mark Aghatise is a fusion of art, protest and identity.

Keep reading... Show less
popular
(Photo Courtesy of DIARRABLU)

Meet the Senegalese Designer Making Math Chic

Diarra Bousso uses algorithms to create designs for her line DIARRABLU.

Who knew that math and fashion could work together so seamlessly? Apparently Diarra Bousso did, the self-described "Creative Mathematician" and mastermind behind DIARRABLU. The Senegalese serial entrepreneur and multidisciplinary artist left a career of trading on Wall Street to pursue design and it paid off. She has just been awarded a coveted spot as the Designer in Residence at the San Francisco Fashion Incubator for her innovative use of equations and algorithms in her beautiful designs.

Keep reading... Show less
popular
(Photo by Emma McIntyre/BAFTA LA/Getty Images for BAFTA LA)

Daniel Kaluuya Is Producing a Live-Action 'Barney' Movie with Mattel

Yes, you read that correctly.

In a move that absolutely no one saw coming, Oscar-nominated actor Daniel Kaluuya is set to produce a live-action Barney movie in conjunction with Mattel Films. The Hollywood Reporter first broke the story.

Kaluuya will co-produce the film as part of his 59% production banner, which signed a first-look deal with Paramount back in May. Speaking on his involvement with the project and the impact of Barney & Friends, Kaluuya had this to say: "Barney was a ubiquitous figure in many of our childhoods, then he disappeared into the shadows, left misunderstood. We're excited to explore this compelling modern-day hero and see if his message of 'I love you, you love me' can stand the test of time."

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

news.

popular.