Until November 03, 2023, Christine Nyatho presents her first solo exhibition “Kafunda Mama” at AMASAKA Gallery. An artistic ode to the fighting woman who draws her essence from the implacable life force of motherhood. In her exhibition, the contemporary artist pays tribute to a protagonist she dubs “Kafunda Mama“, in reference to the small roadside stalls known as Kafunda. This new exhibition by Christine Nyatho reveals a poignant aspect of the everyday life of black women, and invites visitors to become aware of the superhuman strength shown by these women, whose aim is to ensure the harmony and continuity of their families.
Christine Nyatho was born in 1993 and grew up in Kampala, to a father from Nebbi and a mother from Masaka. An emerging mixed-media artist, she designs with locally found materials and has been involved in various Weaver Bird residency programs. Her work has recently been exhibited at Firetti Contemporary in Dubai and Amasaka Gallery in Kampala. With her first solo show, “Kafunda Mama“, she dazzles the gallery and immerses the space in an atmosphere of resilience, where women are recognized as social heroes. Kafundas, which means “little place” in Luganda, are informal businesses selling alcohol and other victuals, often acting as bars and social spaces. These small businesses are mostly run by women, who find in them an accessible means of earning an income.
Christine Nyatho presents La Kafunda Mama as a mother who puts her heart and soul into her family. She wakes up well before dawn to prepare her establishment, cooks on the outskirts of roads, offers passers-by a hearty meal or schoolchildren a bag of home-made chips, all with the aim of providing for her family. She is a giver of life, but also a woman of action, providing a solid refuge for her family at the expense of her own needs. And all this she does with determination and love, a difference that offers all the beauty and importance of her actons.
The contemporary artist uses bark cloth in her work. This fabric is obtained after beating the bark of the Natal fig tree to flatten it into a fine textile. In her use, Christine Nyatho deliberately chooses to expose the stitches added by the craftsman, small scars resulting from the material’s production process.
Indeed, every time the fabric breaks during the manufacturing process, the craftsman sews it back together. The artist opts for these stitched fragments in particular, because they convey traces of tearing and healing, which she wraps in her own embroidery with delicate, undulating threads forming a circular rendering of floral or ornithological imagery. The relevance of her artistic composition gives her creations striking visual forms, like joyful goddesses who sparkle with growth throughout their pore without concealing their wounds, features that offer the very essence of the works.
In the circles that make up the silhouettes of her beating mothers depicted by Christine Nyatho, the artist also communicates her interest in the moon and its remarkable effect on life and the earth. The moon controls the seasons and the tides, and according to certain beliefs and thoughts, it also has an impact on our moods and states of mind. Surrounding the earth in silent circles, she keeps the planet on its original trajectory and the cycles of life in perpetual motion. Compared to a woman, the moon is the mother of all, a protector, an essential light that dominates separation through unfathomable connection.
In her exhibition “Kafunda Mama”, Christine Nyatho expresses deep gratitude to those who give love, contributing to her own self-fulfillment. Through her works, she passionately recalls the overflowing vitality of feminine energy, endowed with unfathomable creative power. With gentleness and exemplary resilience, the fighting woman tirelessly weaves the fabric of life, infusing it with love and indomitable strength.