Nakivubo Channel

Artist: Samson Ssenkaaba aka Xenson
Location: Kampala, South Africa
Year of completion: 2014
Vaughn Sadie

Xenson’s KLA ART 012 project is a visual and conceptual analysis of the dumping phenomenon on a variety of levels.
On one level, as indicated by the title, the project looks at dumping processes that take place in Kampala where the majority of the city’s waste ends up in the Nakivubo channel, one of the waterways polluting Lake Victoria. He reflects on a time in the Buganda Kingdom when the community assumed responsibility for their environment, acted out in bulungi bwansi community works.

Today littering has become a common and unhealthy habit in Kampala and the pending gross repercussions are seldom taken into consideration. By drawing attention to this problem, the project creates awareness of the dangers of dumping and addresses the importance of society’s waste management. “Today we are seeing a huge dumping phenomenon of second hand products and cheap Chinese brand name knock-offs in many African cities. At first sight this gives the false impression of charity and affordability.

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However, there seems to be a deliberate initiative from ‘western’ economies to dump what is no longer needed into ‘third world’ economies. The life span of these products is very short and they soon end up as waste.” Most of these second hand goods and Chinese products come by sea in the shipping containers that are used as exhibition spaces for KLA ART 012. Making use of two of these containers, one on top of the other, Xenson creates an overwhelming sea of plastics and non-biodegradable waste that pours from the double story height onto the ground below.

Xenson’s project is a formidable reference to hegemonic power relations within the global market. It draws attention to the potential double sided character of charity and challenges the contemporary culture of consumerism.

All copyright belongs to Shanghai Academy of Fine Arts, Shanghai University.

Progress Agency