The Bayimba International Festival of Arts 2010 Kampala UG

Forgive the fact that I have written this a week after the Festival started and 5 days after it ended. Forgive me also for the awful truth that I took no pictures, you can go to Bayimba facebook page for you to have a look.

Ugandans are not crazy about the arts. Ugandans just love entertainment. This is why it is easier for Moses Kyagulanyi to pull throngs while Maurice Kirya will attract a select few who are picky.

The recently concluded Bayimba festival had tough competition over the weekend. There was the Goat race at Munyonyo plus the Bride and Groom Expo. Bayimba’s vision is “A vibrant creative arts industry in Uganda that is professional, creative and viable and contributes to social and economic development in Uganda and East Africa.” It was evident from the festival’s weekend line up that creative arts is a big deal with Bayimba.

First, the plates, cups, basins and other plastic stuff on the main stage background was a totally cool idea.

From the photography display, to the artisan craft, the music in the theatre from Kampala Music School, Abo Gospel, Ethno Uganda, and other acts, it was a dynamic mix of different art forms showcasing not only Ugandan culture but international culture as well.

There was a clear presence of “Mzungus” who are known to be more in love with the arts than the Ugandans themselves. To wit, there was a nice shirt with the words ” My name is not Mzungu”, which put a smile on my face.

However, I think the attendance of locals was not so bad although like I said at the start, Ugandans love entertainment. This is probably why we saw more people coming in the evening to watch mostly rock-oriented live music like the Uneven Band with Rachel K, Milege and and take part of the cooler than ice cold “Silent Disco”.

My personal favourites were the photos upstairs; it revealed there is a growing skill in photography in Uganda. Some photos
were taken in ridiculous positions but came out looking gorgeous. The lighting, focus, colour was something to be proud of. Not to mention, Marcel Worms’ dreamy piano playing in the main auditorium on Saturday.

Latif did this crazy thing where he made a dress for a model in around 5 minutes and my, wasn’t she stunning!

At the end of the day, it seemed many of the people I knew were attending so for some part, it became a social event if you had not gone to the Goat Races or the Bride and Groom expo.

I loved it. Simply put. The diversity, the creativity, the flamboyance although we shall need more of that next time. One of the goals is to make Ugandan arts unique, whereas it is possible, I fear Uganda’s arts are very cliche, it will need persistence, quality such as of Maurice Kirya to develop a distinct look for Ugandan art. Why am I ovcer Maurice Kirya-ing? Check this! My wish is that the festival becomes a must-attend on the international arts’ calendar and that Ugandans become a bigger part of it than those they host from other countries.

If you missed Bayimba this year, wait patiently for the one next year. I think it is progress for arts in Uganda.


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