Richard Atugonza

Atugonza is a sculptor who graduated from Margaret Trowell School of Industrial and Fine Art – Makerere University Kampala in 2019. He majored in sculpture specifically in portraiture and minors in photography and communication design. 

He previously worked as an apprentice in Lost-wax casting and as a technical officer in a furniture workshop which he left in 2020 to pursue an art residency with 
Silhouette in Kampala.

His current body of works from the series Imperfection perfections encompasses a selection of portraits depicting people in his life whom he sculpts in ubiquitous materials such as plastic bottles and charcoal found in his immediate environment to capture proportion, body movement and posture using the reverse technique. This 
begins with dressing his models with bandage to get the negative, after which he manipulates through clay as an ‘editing’ process to capture the figure’s expression in order to make a cast.   

Atugonza sees his practice as an extension of a recycling line, where he initially began using plastic litter found on the university premises, not because he was trying to clean the campus but because he needed cheap material to make his work as a student. This further extended to sourcing these materials from his neighbours living on the same compound and purchasing it from the recycling depot.

In this making process, the subject matter and materiality fuse people and the environment in forms that appear brittle but which, however, become durable through the transformation of the plastic through combustion. In this process, the artist finds new techniques and solutions to handle the materials. Within the daily challenges the 
artist encounters in his life and those of others, there is a resilient character to be found in the new materialism of the black matter.

Atugonza has exhibited his work at 1:54 Art Fair London 2020, “Surfaces” Afriart Gallery Kampala 2019 and “Walls Speak”, Kingdom Kampala, 2019.

1994 -
Nationality: Ugandan
Residence: Uganda