Talk of brilliant strategic planning. As one entered the Kampala Premier Inn and Gallery along Kira road, Kamwokya, last Friday, the sound of the acoustic guitar welcomed them.
With the African sounds, a guitar-playing duo was quick to capture the attention of whoever entered the inn-cum-gallery for the Katogo fine-art exhibition, the first of its kind this year. Carolynne Adams Adongo, one of the 22 fine artists and exhibitors, is one of the founding members of this new gallery that is less than a year old. She told The Observer the idea behind this move was quite simple.
“This new inn is already attracting a huge number of clientele, both local and expatriates. And so, what we projected is that as different people reside here, they will have free access to the art gallery space as they relax. There is a high chance that they will like some art pieces and buy them,” she said.
This, in many ways, looks like a strategy that will work. In fact, Katja Lenart, an art lover from Slovenia, said it was a good plan to capture the wider market, especially the natives, many of whom are yet to appreciate the value of art. The show turned out to be exciting and a real mixed grill as its title, Katogo, suggested.
Young and little-known artists were given a chance to exhibit. Herbert Kizito, 23, a fine art student at Makerere University specialising in fashion, made his first steps into a gallery, something usually hard to experience for upstarts without money for gallery space.
Ronnie Tindi, another of the founding artists of this gallery, said one of their main objectives was to give upcoming fine artists a platform to showcase their work too. The range of art showcased, from realism, semi-abstract and abstract art, on canvass, ceramics, clay and in wood carvings completed a whole range of variety that catered for different tastes.
Nature pieces may have dominated from plants and animals in the wild, yet also little pieces on tradition and general lifestyle made their way to the walls.
Ro Kerango, one of the exhibitors, said all this is intended to leave the public spoilt for choice, at least for the rest of February when the exhibition will be running.