Abaana Ba Kintu

Artist. Sheila Nakitende
Location. Kampala, Uganda
Curator. Helga Rainer
Date. 2-4 April, 2022
Sheila Nakitende: Abaana Ba Kintu

Overview of exhibition

Borderlands Art and UNDERGROUND Contemporary are proud to present a sculptural installation by Sheila Nakitende in the Chemistry Department of Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Nakitende working with barkcloth (Lubugo), which has important cultural significance has innovated, through techniques of deconstruction and reconstruction of the fibre to form a new purpose for barkcloth. 

Okukomaga refers to the practice of crafting this permanently renewable bark from Mutuba without having to fell the fig tree. This practice of Kukomaga is passed down through the generations and Nakitende learned that her grandfather, who passed away when she was five, had crafted barkcloth as a hobby. Among the Baganda people of Uganda it was customary for every homestead to have at least one Mutuba tree, (Ficus natalensis or the natal fig), from which bark fleeces may be harvested. 

Through this process of transformation, Nakitende explores healing, nurturing and meditation. This slow handmade process further reconnects with deep values of community-making practices, juxtaposed against the isolating, fast-paced lives of rapid urbanization, which is shifting living and shared spaces (architectural placements), in the social fabric of Ugandan society. Ultimately, Nakitende is commenting on the human condition and its environment through an interrogation of material culture.

Selected Works

Sheila Nakitende

We cannot speak about the descendants of Kintu without speaking about the one who birthed and nurtured them.

Approx. 58 x 140cm (man), 72.5 x 123cm (woman & girl)

KOJJA, 2020 The Maternal Uncle Approx. 34.5cm x 34.5cm,2020

Sheila Nakitende
KOJJA, 2020
The Maternal Uncle
Approx. 34.5cm x 34.5cm,2020

Sheila Nakitende
Youth, the current descendants of Kintu.
Approx. 33.5 x 36cm