Artwork exhibited in Nakasero by Ugandan artist Samson Ssenkaaba aka Xenson at the Kampala Contemporary Art Festival 2012

“Today we are seeing a huge dumping phenomenon of second hand products and cheap Chinese brand name knock-offs in many African cities. Most of the second hand goods come through the sea via these containers. Inevitably the containers are the vehicles of a phenomenon that is blind to unsuspecting citizens of these third world economies who at the same time are unaware of the pending gross repercussions.

Through my art I’m trying to create an awareness of the dangers of dumping, which is now common in contemporary Africa. I strive to ask critical but emotionally sensitive questions and solicit information from the audience by highlighting this issue. In turn I believe this will stimulate a thought process and potentially perpetrate the necessary action. There is a critical question however: Can there be a seamless co-existence of technology and economic advancement without tremendous damage to the environment?

My art seeks to represent some conceptual and abstract answers to this question.”


Ugandan designer; Xenson Ssenkaaba’s Futuristic-Past fashion show last Wednesday at Serena hotel’s Victoria hall was the epitome of style in Uganda’s fashion industry (Pictured are some of the designs: Xenson’s triple dress and some reed dresses.)

Xenson is a Jack of all trades; he paints, raps, sprays walls with graffiti and designs clothes. He is also a poet, one who prefers to write in his native Luganda.

This diversity, or restlessness if you prefer, could easily be used to diagnose Xenson as a Jack of all trades, one who ends up so stretched that he never excels at any. But deriving such conclusions skirts his passionate dedication to art. After all, he quit an engineering degree and decided to study Fine Art instead, earning a first class degree.

Xenson said Futuristic Past, “Is a retrospective look of where we are coming from, where we are and where we are headed as humans.” His work at the exhibition, was structured to represent three eras; the past, the present and the future or, to fit it in the shows narrative, the futuristic past.