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Installation view
IVY KALUNGI - NEW TRAIL, OLD STORIES
17/10/19 - 27/10/19
In this solo exhibition Ivy Kalungi presents work developed on residency at FACT, an opportunity she was awarded after graduating from Liverpool Hope University earlier this year. The exhibition takes the form of an immersive installation, including a four-channel video of archival materials and sculptures. Kalungi’s work in this show focuses on contemporary traces of memory, collective memory, and uses storytelling as a starting point for inspiration. Using her personal experience of belonging to the African diaspora, the artist held two workshops at FACT to explore these themes. The responses that came out of those gatherings (which circled around the idea of storytelling and how to sustain collective memory) prompted her to ask the following questions about respectful archiving: ‘How do we make meaning from the past?’ and ‘How can we sustain it?’ The workshops, as well as individual research, and conversations on story, object, memory and experiences have informed the show she now presents at OUTPUT gallery.

The exhibition explores the potential of transitional spaces. 'New trail, old stories’ investigates collective history and memory with city and village culture in Kalerwe just outside the city of Kampala. The videos reflect personal, environmental and shared experiences within the community from the late 1950’s onwards. Kalungi writes, ‘I am interested in transitional spaces for example windows, doors and the framework of structures. The experiences of cultural displacement have opened my eyes to the idea of these spaces connecting yet separating, trying to erase certain borders that limit identities being brought together. I am open to looking at the world through a different lens, listening to people’s stories, journeys and shared experiences. For me it’s being able to connect to a place, object or person.’
Installation view
Why is the gallery red?

This exhibition investigates collective history and memory. Looking at my own heritage, environment and the country I am from, the colour red has huge significance in ‘Buganda culture’. It represents the ‘brotherhood’, through which all Africans are connected. I have seen this colour each stage of my life, from when I was young staying at my grandparents’ house in Kalerwe (a village just outside of Uganda’s capital city of Kampala). All I remember about the environment was our redbrick house and there being red sand everywhere. Sand getting into tiny spaces, between the windowsill under the doors. For years my mother had our living rooms walls that same shade of red, that colour just captured me.

Where are the places shown in the videos?

There are several places shown in the videos for example, Kibuye market (a fresh produce market) just on the north and near Mengo which is to the northwest (my place of birth). I have visited or encountered these places. I remember my dad sending me videos and recordings driving through the market on his motorbike. Kalerwe village, where some of my relatives would say. There is a road you will see in one of the videos called ‘Kabaka Anjagala’ road, this road connects the palace and Ugandan parliament also known as the ‘Royal Mile’. There are clan sculptures along this road that I have referenced within my installation, these sculptures are used as a reminder to the ‘Buganda’ people to reserve and safeguard our heritage. For example, the historical junction comprising of tall drums and a shield to represent Uganda’s communication in the ‘Buganda’ kingdom mastered by some.

What has it been like doing a residency at FACT?

I was over the moon when I found out I would be the new artist in residence at FACT. I had visited previous exhibitions as well as written my dissertation on ‘The exhibition and Reception of participatory New Media Art? A study of the State of Play: Roleplay Reality’ exhibition at FACT. When I started my residency, I was quite intimidated at the thought of starting my project and working with the team, just graduating from Liverpool Hope University. FACT was so accommodating, I was able to spend some time really looking at my work, reading and spending some time speaking to people in the team and asking questions. The team have been amazing at answering my questions and helping me facilitate workshops. This residency has been good for me as I now more than ever see the importance of independent research and working as part of a team. I have been able to use the facilities that have been rendered to me for example, the Lab, library and office. The work environment has really inspired me. It has changed my work ethic, by allowing the confidence to go out and network with different people.
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