Beyond the Gallery: Interactions between Audiences, Artists, and Their Art through the Kampala Art Tour 2007-2010

By Nagawa, Margaret | Art Education, March 2012 | Go to article overview

Beyond the Gallery: Interactions between Audiences, Artists, and Their Art through the Kampala Art Tour 2007-2010


Nagawa, Margaret, Art Education


When one walks into an art gallery in Kampala, the capital city of Uganda, one sees a predominantly non-Ugandan audience. Visitors to homes of Ugandans, even those wealthy enough to afford art, find typically bare walls. This begs broader questions: What is it about the education and presentation of contemporary art that excludes local authences? How can it become more relevant to a broader range of viewers? In this article, I focus on the immediate context of spaces where art is exhibited, contrasting the experience of viewing art in a traditional gallery or museum setting versus an interactive group visit to artists' studios as an alternative means of experiencing contemporary art.

Compared to dedicated art museums and galleries, artists' studios have received very little attention as learning environments for art. The museum has been described as a carefully constructed ritual site where visitors go to perform the ritual of seeing art in a contemplative state (Duncan, 1995). According to Duncan, visitors to museums are expected to behave with certain decorum while treating the objects and the space with respect. Art historians, curators, artists, and sponsors carefully choreograph this rimai. The museum environment therefore becomes a 'scripted platform' (Enwezor & OkekeAgulu, 2009, 23). The museum acts as a filter, sheltering the visitor from the humdrum of the everyday. But how is this ritual reproduced and sustained in society? French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu coined the term habitus, which encompasses the idea of self-reinforcing practices structured through different forms of capital - knowledge, wealth, social connections, and networks (Bourdieu, 1984). Thus, the practice of undergoing the ritualized museum experience, sometimes starting from early childhood, justifies and reinforces the demand for art itself. Such self-sustaining mechanisms and the capital required to sustain them have yet to take root in Uganda. Art infrastructure is notably weak. Until recently, Uganda boasted only a handful of art galleries concentrated in the capital city, and one national museum housing an ethnographic collection. Formal education in art is Umited to wealthy secondary schools and some institutions of higher learning. Public and critical discourses on art are also limited as elsewhere in Africa (Nicodemus, 1999), reflected by the lack of public lectures, seminars, journals, libraries, and archives devoted to art. Public discourse on art is Umited to those with access to social and occasional print media articles. According to the Ugandan art historian Kivubiro Tabawebbula, the contemplative tradition of art gaUeries in developed art markets is incompatible with the more communal nature of appreciation in music, dance, architecture, and other forms of African artistic expression (personal communication, March 15, 2011).

By contrast, art studio tours are more consistent with the local values of communal appreciation and participation. They do this in a number of ways, including: providing direct interaction between artists and authences, and authences with each other; conducting a more personal interface with the art in the artists presence; taking an opportunity to touch as well as see the art, art materials, and work surfaces at various stages of development; and hearing stories about artists' daily routines as well as ideas behind artworks. In this way, visitors get rounded learning experiences while bypassing the aUen constraining rimais of the museum. This approach is consistent with constructivist learning theory, which encourages students to be active learners playing a central role in mediating and controlling the learning process (Jonassen, 1999), and learning in small groups where successful communication results into identifying peers as resources rather than competitors (Strommen & Lincoln, 1992).

This article examines the experience of the Kampala art tour from 2007 through 2010 in five aspects: the character of the art tour, the artists, the visitors, the museum, and studio spaces; and the sharing of reflections on the tour experience. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Beyond the Gallery: Interactions between Audiences, Artists, and Their Art through the Kampala Art Tour 2007-2010
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.