In her films and installations Emma examines differing worldviews in the wake of colonialism in east Africa.
The work is a fragmentary, essayistic meditation on (among other things) art, fact, fiction, memory, rights to land, place and displacement that marks the culmination of a substantial body of work collectively entitled Uganda in Black and White (2011-2014).
It features the voices of the artist, her uncle Patrick Wanambwa and Theodor Hertzka, a 19th century Austro-Hungarian economist, who was one of many Europeans who tried to establish a utopian settlement (“Freeland”) in East Africa. It also makes reference to the thousands of European refugees who found sanctuary in Africa during World War II and to the violent ongoing realities of internal and external displacement. In reflecting on the relationship(s) between representation, power, projection and possession, the artist’s own role is called into question.
Collective will be working with Emma during 2020 as part of our Constellations Programme, which is a series of research-based projects that aim to bring people together and develop ideas. This programme provides opportunities for artists to engage with our locality and consider new ways to question and to bring people together.
Emma Wolukau-Wanambwa's recent / current exhibitions include: Bergen Assembly (2019), 62nd BFI London Film Festival (2018), Women on Aeroplanes at The Showroom Gallery in London and Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw (both 2018–19), 10th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art (2018), A Thousand Roaring Beasts: Display Devices for a Critical Modernity at Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporaneo – CAAC in Seville (2017) and Kabbo Ka Muwala at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Makerere University Art Gallery and Kunsthalle Bremen (all 2016). Her essay Margaret Trowell’s School of Art or How to Keep the Children’s Work Really African has recently been published in The Palgrave Handbook of Race and the Arts in Education (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018).