KENDU: An Introduction

KENDU is a collaborative art piece by Acaye Pamela and Katie Wright. Acaye creates performative pieces centred around the African woman’s experience, and Wright creates large-scale sculptural pieces exploring the connection between one’s sense of self and their material surroundings. The two artists produced this work in two or three weeks of intense conversation, design, and making. Their work was accepted into MTN Nyege Nyege festival.

The name Kendu means “hearth” or “again” in Alur, the language of the Nilotic people along the River Nile. It has connotations to creating, destroying, and remaking.

The intention of Kendu is to renew conversations with the occupant’s concepts of womanhood and motherhood, and their relationship to the womb. Kendu consists of an organic, egg-like structure made of metal, with an Olubugo (barkcloth) covering and small mirrored pieces on the interior. The organic shape is based on the concept of a womb and is large enough for three or four people to occupy at a time. It is 230cm at its tallest point, 200cm wide and 300cm deep.

The mirrors catch the light and reflect the occupant. In capturing reflections of the viewer, the work is temporarily personalised for everyone who enters the space. It is a representation of the self-reflection that we hope to encourage.

Olubugo from the omutuba tree is a traditional heritage material associated with sacred ritual. The creation of olubugo is a highly skilled, repetitive, and specific process. The method of creation gives rise to a unique sense of self to the makers of Olubugo. They feel they know themselves through subjective reflection ignited by the repetitive tasks involved.

Outside the installation space is a cafe on the rocks that will prepare coffee similar to that served be the Nilotic people of Sudan, Ethiopia,  Egypt and Uganda. We hope that the beverage will serve as an icebreaker for strangers, and encourage people to share their experiences.

 

 

Thank you, everyone, who joined us for the first iteration of the amazing KENDU installation at Nyege Nyege festival, 07.09.18 – 10.09.18. You made it truly special.

KENDU at Nyege Nyege

In the initial stages of planning this installation, we decided that this would be a womb-shaped structure for women, to talk about their relationship to the womb.

As with all great plans, this wasn’t quite what happened.

We installed the structure at MTN Nyege Nyege festival 06/09/18 – 10/09/18. Festival goers, crew, artists and vendors came and activated the installation, finally bringing it to life as a piece of artwork. It was very exciting.

KENDU proved itself to be an experience for everyone, not just those that were born female. It became a hub of converation about people, family, sex, poliics, what it means to be a woman, what it means to be a man.

An update detailing some of the experiences from our Nyege Nyege installaton is coming soon. In the meantime, why don’t you go and see the installation for yourself?

Head to the Big Kafunda on Wednesday 17th October to catch the second installation of KENDU. Drink some coffee and talk about real life stuff.

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Making the Womb

The design was based on the shape of a womb. We wanted the structure to eventually have mirrors inside, and Makerere University helped us enormously by putting on a glass cutting workshop so that the students could collaborate on our project with us.

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Acaye imspiring the second year students of Makarere University with our project intentions.
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Amazing students taking part in a glass cutting workshop
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Glass cutting workshop

 

I began designing the structure the same way I start all my sculptures – with simple line drawings. After a lot of discussion with my partner Acaye about the way we wated the structure to feel, I apprached Makerere University again to ask very nicely if we could use their sculpture studio to build it. Thankfully they said yes! Haromax designs are the fantastic creative designers that helped us to realise it. Thanks guys! We couldn’t have done it without you.

Here are some photographs of the making in action:

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