East Africa

Ugandan Artist Examines the Essence of South Sudan in his Exhibition

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Ugandan visual artist Tindi Ronnie Chris captures the spirit of the Dinka, a resilient Nilotic ethnic group from South Sudan, in his mixed-medium collage series titled “Shadow of the Dinka.” The exhibition is hosted at the Xenson Art Space in Kampala and ends on 19th August 2023.

In this captivating exhibition, Tindi uses Kitenge fabric offcuts and other materials to depict elegant human figures and their shadows. He showcases their unique physical features—small heads, long necks, hands, and fingers. The Kitenge fabrics are an integral part of East African culture and serve as the canvas for this exhibition.

Yom, 2023. Medium: Mixed medium (Collage). Image courtesy of Xenson Art Space, Kampala

The exhibition is a testament to the strength of human diversity and the enduring beauty of cultural traditions. Despite facing years of civil war, displacement, and environmental challenges, the Dinka community maintains its celebration of culture and traditions.

Tindi’s art is more than just an artistic expression; it is a tribute to the Dinka’s resilience and heritage. He collaborates closely with the Dinka community and scholars to ensure the accuracy of his portrayals. Each artwork in the series represents different facets of their identity, such as art, music, spirituality, and social structures.

The artworks’ titles are the names of the Dinka people, and Tindi interprets their meanings to the viewers. Through intricate patterns and layered texture, Tindi weaves a visual narrative that celebrates the beauty and strength of the Dinka people. The paintings also shed light on their displacement, conflict, and discrimination struggles.

Amir. 120cm x 98cm. Mixed medium (Collage). Image courtesy of Xenson Art Space, Kampala.

For Tindi Ronnie Chris, painting the Dinka is an opportunity to celebrate their heritage. Additionally, it is a way of challenging preconceived notions of beauty and honoring their struggles. Their tall, slender physiques, elaborate hairstyles, and colorful clothing are visually compelling elements that capture the artist’s fascination.

Tindi’s art reminds us of the power of creativity to promote empathy, bridge gaps, and inspire positive change. Through the “Shadow of the Dinka,” he showcases the unique aesthetic of this community. Moreover, he raises awareness about their way of life. As an artist, Tindi finds the story of the Dinka inspiring and worth sharing. His artworks are a tribute to their resilience and a celebration of their identity and way of life.
“Shadow of the Dinka” is not just an art showcase; it is a journey into the heart of a community that defies adversity and continues to embrace its rich cultural heritage. Through Tindi’s artistic lens, visitors gain a deeper understanding of the Dinka people and their remarkable journey toward self-discovery and preservation.

Author

Rose Mwikali Musyoki is a creative writer from Nairobi, Kenya. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Business and Finance from the University of Embu, Kenya, and is the founder of Bloom Inc, an art startup in Kenya. Currently, she works as a writer for Art News Africa.

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