Interview with international resident artist, Ivan Bwambale

Ivan Allan Bwambale studied sculpture at the Margaret Trowell School of Industrial and Fine Arts at Makerere University. After graduating in 2012 he became a lecturer in sculpture at the YMCA Comprehensive Institute, Kampala and has established himself as one of the master sculptural artists in Uganda.

He is on a four week international residency programme at Kuona Trust

Ivan Bwambale

Ivan Bwambale

Links: Facebook: Ivan Allan Bwambale

1.Tell us a bit about yourself?

I like  working with found objects.I believe in the philosophy that art should be used to create an impact on society.

I find beauty in ‘Ugly things’ and working with things people consider rejects.

One of the artworks made by Ivan

One of the artworks made by Ivan

2. What other interest do you have apart from art?

I love music and hiking and quite recently, fashion.

3. What has been your experience working at Kuona?

Kuona is very engaging.There are several artists whom one can  learn from.Its has been a very hands on residency and I have learn’t a lot form it.

4. What do you wish to communicate through your work?

My work is about social issues.I like having it represent different issues in society especially ones to do with the culture I happen to work in at the moment..I use scrap metal mostly from car parts,motor cycles and bicyles

5. What are you currently working on?

Currently I am working on a public art project called reflections and senses.It is an interactive installation  of a book that is 50X30 inches big.People are encouraged to write their views on issues affecting them such as overcoming tribalism and why they are proud to be Kenyans.

I this is very crucial to Kenya’s history at the moment and I hope it will foster peace in the country

The 'Big red book' public art project

The ‘Big red book’ public art project

6. What is your view of the Kenyan art scene?

It is a bit vibrant though there are a few cases of plagiarism here and there.Some artists here also seem to create art for commercial gain and not just entirely for self expression.

None the less there are  a lot of art centres in Kenya that promote art as compared to Uganda.It is a great initiative.

Ivan at the Manjano art exhibition in Nairobi

Ivan at the Manjano art exhibition in Nairobi

7. Are there any local artists you admire.

From Kuona Trust I like Gakunju  Kaigwa and Cyrus Kabiru.Kaigwa is very flexible in his work and sort of gives dimension to sculpture.Cyrus transforms ordinary day materials into what I call contemporary African masks with expressions that are unique to their kind.

I also like Benjamin Odoch’s work.They have robust forms and are heavily textured.

8. Would you say it’s possible to make a living through art as your only source of livelihood in Uganda?

It is possible because there is an art market.several artists have big investments financed by the art they do

9.Tell us about the KLA festival

KLA was the first of its kind arts festival held in Uganda.I am glad to have been part of it and emerging number 2 in the competition.It is good to take art from galleries and put  it where everyone can appreciate it.It created a new dimension in the way people perceive art in Uganda.

For more info on the festival click here.

Artwork by Ivan for the KLA ART festival

Artwork by Ivan for the KLA ART festival

10. Any advice to other upcoming artists?

Passion and experimentation is the key to becoming an extraordinary artist. If you do this you will come up with something that is individualistic and unique.

11.What should people look forward to from your residency at Kuona?

Currently to write on the big red book.

I will instruct a welding workshop organized and have an exhibition of all the writings from the public art project.


2 responses to “Interview with international resident artist, Ivan Bwambale

  1. This is so lovely en beautiful.pipo give up bt am glad u dint .jst wish u all the best.dint take it up to this level bt still love art.Gbu Ivan

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