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Rose Namubiru Kirumira

Artist Statement


My work interrogates the groundedness of cultural spaces specifically material objects, personalities and narratives with problematic meanings due to displacement from their historical craftsmanship and performative context. I explore the connections and relationships between objects, object making and issues of identity placement of a personal nature and, own lived experiences. The artwork for me then takes on a new responsibility, it becomes a tool for visual affirmation, proclamation and emancipation.

The body of work I am currently investigating is inspired by ‘The Cooking Pot’ known as ‘sefuliya’ among the Baganda of Uganda. Borrowed from a Swahili word “sufria”, it commonly refers to a flat based, deep sided lipped and handleless cooking pot or container. It is widely used by the Bantu of Eastern and Southern Africa. Traditionally it was a clay pot known as ‘entamu’.


In the Exhibition at Stellenbosch University Gallery (GUS), I use the concepts of time, form and function based on a collection of patched-up and de-commissioned e’sefuliya that I travelled with from Uganda. I engage in a conversation depicting an intimate life-long relationship between e’sefuliya, its owner(s) through the personality of Kabiite, and firewood. I have carved, stitched bolted, hammered and molded the connections, intersections including divergences in their relationship. I engage in conversational reflection about stories of “own-histories” against “pot-life experiences”. Individual narratives derived either from cooking traditions or social demands have made a visual argument for new pot ‘objects’, in this case beyond e’sefuliya, as a resource for reflection and commentaries about the current-day personal space. The pot becomes a vessel of responsibility and the next forum for conversation.



Rose Namubiru Kirumira (B. 28th October 1962), is a leading Ugandan female Sculptor and Senior Lecturer at the Margaret Trowell School of Industrial and Fine Arts (MTSIFA) at Makerere University. She holds a PhD in Art Education from Makerere University for which her focus was Re-visiting the value of informal learning spaces in the Formation of African Visual Artists. At MTSIFA she teaches materials and techniques of sculpture in Fine Arts , Research Methodology and Design. She is versatile in all media with particular preference for wood, metal and terracotta.


Dr. Kirumira is an internationally recognized and widely exhibited female sculptor. She has written several articles, participated in various national projects and has had single and joint exhibitions in Uganda. She was part of the Triangle International Artists’ Networks both in Africa and Europe. She started Ngoma Workshop, the first Triangle International Artist’s Workshop in Uganda, and has attended several artists’ workshops and residencies in Uganda, Zambia, Kenya, Botswana, South Africa, Denmark, China and USA. She Chaired the first Kampala International Artists Festival 2012. She thus has extensive experience with artists’ works, activities and ‘work-shopping’ in Africa.


Rose has been a Fulbright Fellow (1998) at De Anza College Cupertino California, USA. She was a Journalist Fellow (2009) at the Nordic Africa Institute Uppsala and an Artist-in-Residence at THAMI MYELE (2003) Netherlands. She was a A.W. Mellon Writer-in-Residence at Rhodes University, South Africa (2018) and a member of the ArtPOWA Network. Currently, she is a Visiting Guest Artist at the Visual Art Department, Stellenbosch University.

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