Remmy Sserwadda’s first solo exhibition, Friend Request, finally opened on August 14 at the Xenson Art Space in Kamwokya, Kampala.
The collection of 10 colourful oils on canvas paintings depict everyday lives of ordinary Africans.
Sserwadda is a contemporary artist who works with realistic human figures in conceptual postures with detailed backgrounds of African prints made mainly from kitenge cloth.
He is inspired by what surrounds him especially his immediate circles, and the four forms of love — eros, agape, storge and philia. He believes that most of man’s influence is based on love, religion and culture.
Fight racism everywhere
The exhibition, curated by Trevor Mukholi, runs to September 25, and is open to walk-in art lovers under strict Covid-19 regulations.
The paintings, showcase everyday young Africans doing ordinary things like the two happy young women in Good News, anxiously listening to another who is excitedly reading out the contents of a letter.
In Black Lives Matter, people are protesting against racism in the US, with profile pictures of prominent black personalities like Barak Obama and Mike Tyson, among others, in the background.
Friend Request 1 is of a beautiful woman seated on the ground, with an African drum on her laps with the profile picture of Ugandan-British Hollywood actor Daniel Kaluuya.
“I am sending direct messages to the people in the profile pictures like Kaluuya that he has Ugandan roots and answering his curiosity, if any, that this is the real Uganda and not that shown on media or in movies,” said Sserwadda.
He added: “I am trying to show the real Africa not the media version as a war zone or disease infested. That this is how Africa is organised socially; a loving continent. Africa is so much love to us and our neighbours. Using the four forms of love to preach togetherness, unity and one love.”
His inspiration for this collection, he says, was the killing of George Floyd in the US. “To me and many others, he died because of his skin colour. This got me to think of how I could get involved in the narrative and prevent this from happening again.”
“I am reaching out to the hopeless and faithless, the broken, and victims of racism and to the lost souls of African descent from all corners of the world,” he added.
The Friend Request exhibition that was initially set for June 12 to July 19, 2021 but rescheduled because of the national lockdown.
Sserwadda has been part of the Surfaces workshop and art exhibition, “Look One” group exhibition organised by Afriart Gallery Kampala.