Sculpture show explores complexity of human body

Saturday February 03 2024

Ronex Ahimbisibwe’s sculpture “Transcending”. PHOTO | BAMUTURAKI MUSINGUZI | NMG


Ugandan multimedia visual artist Ronex Ahimbisibwe is holding his first all-sculpture solo art exhibition titled Formation at Umoja Art Gallery in Kampala.

In the exhibition running from January 20 to February 20, Ronex delves into the nuanced exploration of artistic processes and materials accumulated over his impressive career.

Formation is a showcase of 78 sculptures developed over the years, with 70 percent being new works he has crafted over the past two years.

The large sculpture Transcending made of oils, steel, hardened paper and paste depicts a headless human figure standing with four human figures hanging at the top.

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War Victims 2, made from oils, aluminum cast, steel and wood depicts several human heads arranged on various levels of the sculpture.
Ronex says that this is his interpretation of the effects of current conflicts, such as the Russia-Ukraine war and the Israel-Palestine war.
Made of only binding wire His Torso shows a rastafarian happily playing a guitar while seated.


“I have seen photos of dissected bodies and how complex they are… that’s my version on how interconnected the human body is,” Ronex says.

Find Your Way, made out of body filler, plywood, paper and oils on board is a maze of several human bodies and faces. “What choice do you have but to follow for the rest of your life or to copy and paste?” the artist says.

Made out of scrap and oils, The Light depicts the human skull and its various parts.

“I believe the brain is our light but also our darkness…The good and bad in the world starts there, not what most religions tend to preach,” Ronex said.

Loved And Lost, made of body filler, binding wire, hardened paper and oils on board shows a woman seated down with a cloth wrapped around her waist and headgear.

Read: Ronex Ahimbisibwe’s 20th exhibition talks of choice

“I have been fascinated by the concept of ‘falling in love’ if you fall what happens next …you quickly want to rise or stand up…then why do expect to retain love if we fall in it,” Ronex said. “Maybe falling in love means creating a memory not necessary the affair to last.”

Made out of binding wire, body filler and oils on board “This Way” shows a young lady in contemplative mood with her shadow in the background.

“Most think their way is the only right way…most times it has created conflicts instead of celebrating our diversity,” the artist obseves.

“Coupling” made from oils, paper binding wire, mesh and body filler is a portrait of a man and woman with a bird standing on the lady’s left shoulder. “It’s a human desire but we seem to suck at it as we come with expectations,” Ronex notes.

“2 generation” shows a young boy standing dressed in a pair of shorts with his face reflected thrice in the background among plants. “The survival of the human race depends on nature but nature doesn’t necessarily need humans…our role is to conserve it in order for new generations to survive,” the artist says.

Asked why he is holding his first ‘all sculpture’ solo showcase, Ronex replied: “Sculpture demands for physical space and patience [time] that’s why it’s never easier to accumulate enough works for a show. Around 65 are new works that I worked over the last two years. The rest of the works I have accumulated over the years since 2002. In a way it’s an extension of the 20-year celebration but now only in sculpture.”

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As to why this exhibition is titled “Formation,” he said: “The word formation starts with a word ‘form’ thus I was dealing with real form not illusion of form [painting, woodcuts, among others]. Personally I prefer selecting a theme that’s gives me the freedom to wander and explore more than limiting myself to a specific a certain topic. The ‘How’ matters to me more the ‘what’….[ the process not what it says]”

As to why sculpture is his main form of expression, Ronex, said: “At the Makerere University art school I majored in sculpture. I have never called myself a painter but a sculptor who tempts to paint. If you look closely to what is regarded as my painting, there are sculptural elements to them.”

He collects the materials for his sculptures from scrap yards, rejects around his studio and hard wares.

Ronex, who was born in 1977 in Mbarara District in western Uganda, graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial and Fine Arts from the Margaret Trowel School of Fine Art at Makerere University in 2001 and has since been living and working as a full-time artist in Kampala at his Ronexart Studios. While rooted in sculpture, Ronex’s artistic expression has gracefully touched 2D media, especially paintings.