The first solo exhibition of Ugandan figurative artist and photographer Adonias Ekuwe Ocom, which opened on April 20 at the Afriart Gallery in Kamwokya, Kampala features works done in wash, charcoal and collage on newspapers. It will run to May 18.
In a mixed media coloured painting titled Afrotopia Search, the US president Donald Trump is among European and Chinese passengers on a raft rowing towards Africa.
But because of the slow pace of the raft, some leaders — the British Prime Minister Theresa May and the Chinese President Xi Jinping have opted to swim.
Afrotopia Search is about the exploitative migration of the West to Africa in search of natural resources and also the double standards about migration.
The key figure and saint in this art work is Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu. Although he is spearheading a foreign onslaught on Africa, he is also currently leading a campaign in his country to forcibly deport African migrants.
Ocom says Afrotopia Search was inspired by the continued threat of the deportation of Africans from Western countries and the strict migration rules set for Africans.
This art work poses the question, “If the West is moving in and out of Africa with ease, why is it difficult for Africans to move to Europe with ease?”
Afrotopia Search is among Ocom’s 17 works that are attempting to answer the question: “Who Is Your Saint?” The exhibition is also a reflection of the current migration issues in the Africa-China relationship.
The work titled Afro-Chinese Affair is about the current Sino-African relationship.
Today, most African governments turn to China for financial rescue but the question is; “Is China a saint for the African countries or is it the new coloniser of Africa,” Ocom asks.
This art work delves deeper into the romantic liaisons between Chinese workers and local women in northern Uganda, he adds.
According to Ocom, the women had looked up to the Chinese labourers as their financial saints but instead the latter abandoned them, with babies.