The arts and heritage component of the Politics of Return project is embedded in both an arts residency and exhibition.
These components become the pathways to impact that research seeks out to inform host communities and policy change. The translation of research findings into contemporary art makes space to abstract dense narratives and illuminate personal stories. Visual and performative representations are the avenues that lead to rippling impacts.
Three artists are invited to be in residence at 32º East in Kampala, Uganda. From June to September, Willy Karekezi, Kusa Kusa Maska Gael, and Bathsheba Okwenje will respond to the research put forward by investigators on the Politics of Return collaborators. Each strain of research is hinged by the idea that displacement and return between Uganda, Central African Republic, South Sudan and Democratic Republic of the Congo are integrally linked; and through multidisciplinary research they can be comparatively understood. The task set forth for the artists is to be in conversation with the research. Curator Kara Blackmore will mediate the conversations and collaborate with the African Youth Initiative Network to thread the narrative for the final exhibition.
To activate the residencies, we will host a series of dialogues that address key issues around displacement and return. For example, a session on the language of images that addresses the disparity between humanitarian representation and artistic portraiture. Therefore, audiences and artists will be in dialogue with the questions of humane ways for seeing suffering and resilience. The artworks in progress will be showcased during the KLA ART public festival during August 2018. In 2019, an exhibition of the residency artworks, commissioned cartoons and other research materials will be showcased in Gulu, Uganda.