Shapes of Water | Group Exhibition

May 27, 2023 - August 12, 2023

110 - 112 7th Street, Kampala

Participating Artists
Charity Atukunda (Uganda), Amani Azhari (Sudan), Naseeba Bagalaaliwo (Uganda), Nelsa Guambe (Mozambique), April Kamunde (Kenya), Maliza Kiasuwa (DRC), Charlene Komuntale (Uganda), Kitso Lynn Lelliott (South Africa), Sungi Mlengeya (Tanzania), and Mona Taha (Uganda).

Shapes of Water* is a group exhibition presenting works by women artists from Eastern and Southern Africa. The exhibition offers space for individual and genuine expressions of femininity by artists from Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, DRC, Sudan, Mozambique, and South Africa. It hopes to instigate conversations and inspire to imagine new possibilities.

In this exhibition, some of the physical, cultural, and political characteristics and implications of the element water may act as a metaphor or ‘lens’ through which to think about expressions of femininity in the artists’ work. 

Water, in the form of solids, liquids, and gas, is the earth’s and human body’s main constituent and therefore our main source of life. It’s valued, treasured, and at the same time so hard to contain. Humans have always attempted to control water, its flow, and accessibility, and to direct the source of life to irrigate agriculture, save drinking water and keep it from showing up as destructive floods. 

Water politics is now a global concern, such as the policing of a woman’s body is being debated in many forms in different cultures around the world. Yet her genuine expression always finds a way to seep through – at times in joy, other times in pain. 

Over centuries of patriarchy, women have and still are morphing into any shape to sustain themselves - gracefully, fearfully leaning in like a straightened stream, rearing up like a torrential river, carving canyons into history, and at the same time bearing and sustaining life. 

She is fluid. Femininity is fluid, so this exhibition suggests. Femininity changes its shape as it pleases, disregarding the many voices trying to contain it in an 8-shaped vessel. She might turn into ice, breaking the vessel into pieces. She might rise from the vessel as a cloud and rain down on more fertile ground elsewhere. 

Curated by Lara Buchmann


*The title of this exhibition is inspired by the poem ‘Water Woman’ by the Indian poet Rachel Bari. 

Water Woman

Pour me into any container
I remain
The shape of the vessel.
Pour me out
I transform
To take on new forms.
Every new form
Is an experiment,
An art work,
Many take credit.
I however marvel
At the Maker.
I am water,
I am woman
I shall not be contained.
My shape
Is mine as I please.
I am not permanent,
Not elusive
Yet unattainable.
Pour me differently
I shall always fill and flow
Stop the flow if you will.

- Rachel Bari