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Doddridge Busingye takes Jinja on a “trip to mind”

The Jinja arts scene kick-started October with a PopUp Gallery by The Creative Tribe in partnership with The Innovation Village. The Creative Tribe has been known to select young artists who are on the cusp of something great. Having shown the deep and technically superb works of Adrian Migadde in August, the innovative works of the generative artist, ScarlettMotif in September, it was now time for the conceptual and evocative works of Doddridge Busingye to take the stage.

Doddridge’s work exhibited in the Kampala Art Biennale of 2018, established him as a sculptural installation Artist. Since then, he has been hard at work for his first solo show that will happen later this year or next year. During this exhibition, the artist showed a selection of four pieces from his vanity series. This excerpt was titled “Trip to Mind” and featured three paintings and an installation.

Restless Beds by Doddridge Busingye

The Compositions of his paintings show the same woman in interaction with herself, the artist revealed that he uses the compositions to represent his own inner interactions. The series of paintings start with a piece titled “Playing Donkey”. This is a game played by young girls, usually siblings, where one girl is on all fours and the other sits atop as though riding a donkey.

Playing Donkey by Doddridge Busingye

The fact that the two girls in the painting are one and the same has connotations of playing with oneself. Although this reference might not have been obvious to most, the intention of the installation “special needs” could not be mistaken.

Special Needs by Doddridge Busingye

The risque piece shows an old wooden chair wearing red lacy underwear and on its seat, a bowl of phallic fruit; a banana, a carrot, a cucumber, and eggplants. This installation caused quite a stir in the audience as people wondered what it could mean and if their interpretation of “special needs” was indeed correct. One of the viewers, who is a special needs teacher, wondered how “special needs” people would view this piece but was able to relate to it on further contemplation and interaction with the artist. Other attendees of the show also claimed that the exhibition was very relatable. The installation was the clincher of the exhibition; celebrating the intention of the artist, which was for the viewer to experience wild thoughts.

A rugged cup, a twisted mop by Doddridge Busingye

The artist’s controlled use of negative space in the last two paintings leaves the subjects feeling unanchored. This is especially prominent in the piece “A rugged cup, A twisted mop” where the character appears lying down and yet free in the space. There is a certain intimacy to his work especially in the last two paintings: the subjects are in their underwear but do not appear vulnerable or erotic. It is interesting how this happens, perhaps it is the postures, or perhaps it is that all his subjects have blue skin and are painted on very minimalist backgrounds. The portrayal of blue skin has been prevalent in history as well as in art.

In 6th century Art History, the ultramarine blue pigment was so rare and expensive that it was reserved for only the most important works. At one point, the cost of ultramarine rivaled that of gold. The indigo pigment comparatively was easy to synthesize from crops, it is said that this single pigment drove Europe and the Americas into a trade war, fueled the African slave trade as well as the American revolutionary war. In the words of artist Yves Klein “Blue has no dimensions. It is beyond dimensions.” And as such, Doddridge’s blue women tap into a rich history that elevates them.

The exhibition, curated by The Creative Tribe, showcased the unstretched canvases, frameless on glass windows. The idea of seeing the activity going on behind and around the work lent to the “unanchored-ness” of it, as well as the idea that the “dialogue” in the artwork happens in the mind only. The work was spread out in a large space, such that each viewer had the opportunity to see the work by itself and experience the intimacy of it.

The Creative Tribe’s PopUp Gallery continues to inspire and amaze the public and we cannot wait to see what they have in store for November! A catalog of the exhibition, as well as prints of the artwork, will be made available for sale soon.

What do you think?

Written by Nicole Remus

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