“I Had a Dream”Conductor:
Simon Njami, Elise Atangana
“We want to address useful dreams, dreams that can become a reality. Given the example of all those people who had a dream that changed the world, it’s important for these kids to be inspired and to know that, if you work for it, a useful dream can become true.”
Simon Njami, AtWork Kampala conductor
AtWork Kampala Chapter 12 has been implemented by Moleskine Foundation in partnership with Maisha Foundation and Makerere Art Gallery, which also hosted the workshop.
It was the third leg of the AtWork Tour 2018 “I had a dream”, which will continue its journey to its final destination in Harare.
Simon Njami comments on the topic: “It is a school of freedom and social engagement, for, no changes can be achieved by one person alone. If Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Ghandi or Martin Luther King, to name a few dreamers, succeeded in their endeavours, it was mainly because they were able to convince outside of their ego. It is time to tell those kids who represent our future that there is no such a thing as fatalism. We were born what we were born, but we always become what we did. In few words, ‘I Had a Dream” is a call for action, here and now.”
The workshop took place in Kampala, Uganda on August 27-31st 2018 and was conducted by the renowned international curator and our advisor Simon Njami with the assistance of the curator Elise Atangana. It was facilitated by the Makerere University Art professors Lilian Nabulime and George Kyeyune. 24 young creative talents from different backgrounds including educators, dancers, street artists, visual artists, aspiring curators got together under the guidance of the leaders to debate, critique and exchange about their dreams. The creative outcome of these reflections was spilled out on a notebook by each participant, producing 24 dream projects, which will be exhibited as part of the final international exhibition of “I had a dream” Tour in 2019.
“The first thing I want to do after this workshop is to buy books, read books, study books, not just to read to finish them and say “I read that one!”, but to understand and interpret the underlying message in all these books .”
Pamela Enyonu, AtWork Kampala participant
Simon Njami is an independent curator, lecturer, art critic, and writer. He is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of “Revue Noire.” Previously, Njami was the artistic director of the Bamako Photography Biennial 2000-2010, and co-curator of the first African pavilion at the 52nd Venice Biennale in 2007. He has curated a number of contemporary art and photography exhibitions, including Africa Remix (2004-2007) and the first African art fair in Johannesburg in 2008. In 2014, The Divine Comedy exhibition, created and curated by him, started a world tour at the MMK (Museum für Moderne Kunst) in Frankfurt, moving on to the SCAD Museum of Art in Savannah and the Smithsonian Museum of African Art in Washington, DC. He is the director of the Pan African Master Classes in Photography, a project created in partnership with the Goethe Institute; artistic director of the Donwahi Foundation (Abidjan, Ivory Coast); adviser to the Sindika Dokolo Collection (Luanda, Angola); secretary of the special jury of the World Press Photography Awards; artistic director of the first edition of Off Biennale (Cairo, 2015) and the 2016 and 2018 Dak’Art Biennale (Dakar, Senegal), the first and most important artistic event in Africa.
“After this workshop I am a Phoenix, I rise up from the ashes, fight back and break free”
Olivia Mary Nantongo, AtWork Kampala participant
The first three days of the workshop took place in a beautiful Maisha Garden, where the participants had a collective discussion about their dreams, their uniqueness as human beings, their personal and professional aspirations. The workshop took place at the same time with the Kampala Biennale of Art 2018, curated by Simon Njami, which enriched the participants’ experience and integrated it into a wider cultural context of the city. On day 4 the workshop group visited the Biennale’s main venue and exchanged their impressions and critiques of the show with the rest of the group. The last 2 days of the workshop were spent at the Makerere Art Gallery, where the final restitution of the notebooks took place on the final day. The presence of the participants from different countries like Kenya, Rwanda, Congo, Gabon made this experience even more particular and allowed the young people with completely different backgrounds to meet, exchange and debate on the topic “I had a dream”, continuing the creative relay started with the AtWork Tour in Rome and N’Djamena.
“Art is a serious lie”
Simon Njami, AtWork Kampala conductor
The Moleskine notebooks created by the participants during the workshop have been exhibited at the Makerere Art Gallery. The exhibition was co-curated by the workshop participants under the supervision of Simon Njami and Elise Atangana. It inaugurated on September 2d and ran until September 12th. A special catalogue featuring the dreams and the related notebooks of all the participants has been produced by the participants themselves.
Olivia Mary Nantongo
Taneta Sarah Ijangolet
Maisha Foundation, Makerere Art Gallery
AtWork Chapter 12 Coordinator:
Martha Kazungu, Fibby Kioria
Video shooting and editing:
Special thank you to: