Established in 2015, UNDER GROUND Contemporary Art is a creative initiative of Kei Hashimoto, an artist from Japan and Nantume Violet, a curator from Uganda. The art space was established to provide a platform for critical engagement and interaction between Ugandan and African artists and curators, and as a space for art collaboration for artists around Africa. In collaboration other curators and art producers, the space focuses on supporting experimental and new media art forms into the mainstream art industry in Uganda. UNDER GROUND space provides a platform for free exhibition making for artists and for exchange and skill development for young Ugandan and African visual artists.
Hashimoto and Nantume. Photo by Erau Timothy
The project space is essentially an attempt to respond to several needs within the visual arts sector, including accessibility, professional development of young practitioners, audience development, as well as the challenge of collector-artist relationship. It also aims to provide marketing platforms for independent artists in Eastern Africa and around Africa. Since its inception, UNDER GROUND has successfully hosted 65 artists and 9 curators from several countries including, Uganda, Kenya, Congo, Rwanda, Sudan, Ethiopia South Africa and Japan. In addition a project budget, its exhibitions are free, therefore the Space has attracted a cross-section of audiences that would ordinarily not have easy access to exhibitions. It has also offered educational platforms conceptualized to provide access and creative support to budding artists, and to encourage general growth in field of art appreciation. At UNDER GROUND, we stand for experimentation and we aim to promote artists who work with new media, video and sound, photography, installations and performances. UNDER GROUND is dedicated to facilitating and showcasing contemporary African art practices, encouraging experimental practice and offering a platform for conversations.
Opening night of Together We Can Exhibition by Nabukenya Helen
UNDER GROUND Contemporary Art is popularly referred to simply in its abbreviated form “UG’. UG is also a colloquial abbreviation for Uganda, so the reference is deliberate, and apt. Reference to UNDER GROUND often immediately evokes connection with Uganda. UNDER GROUND can also mean “clandestine, or hidden from sight”. In our project it refers to that which is outside or beyond the confines of the mainstream. The concept of the Space was motivated by the desire to present a version of art out of the sight of mainstream art industry. The Space is also supposed to be intimate, warm and disarming, an environment in which the young artists can find sufficient courage and confidence to be innovative without the burdens of conventions which are a feature of mainstream art spaces.
UNDER GROUND has successfully established important linkages with both public and private art institutions and independent platforms in Uganda and around the continent. It has collaborated with several artists and art institutions across Uganda and beyond to organize, host and curate experiences UG believes in collaborative art practice as the key to development of art industry.
Opening night of ZIKUNTA Exhibition by Wasswa August Donald
Board of Directors