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Ronex explores the human form with Formation exhibit


Portrait Sculpture by Ronex

Artist works with nonconventional media to achieve experimental processes in his art and to pay attention to the subject of recycling in art

ART | DOMINIC MUWANGUZI | A solo sculpture show by Ronex was probably one of the milestones missing on the artist’s long list of outstanding achievements on the local art scene. Ronex’s singular identity as a sculptor of functional and conceptual installations has conspired to his selection to several art workshops globally, earned him several art commissions both locally and internationally, and endorsed him as one of the best sculptors of his time. In fact, as the artist often argues, his technique of working- “Sculpri”-is a combination of two genres: Sculpture and Printmaking; the former underlying most of his studio innovation and experimentation. As such, this solo showcase of sculptures dubbed Formation hinges on the artist’s norm of experimenting with different media, techniques and dimensions to instigate deeper conversations for his artistic practice.

On the surface, the sculptures appear ambiguous and full of suspense to a regular visitor. This is Ronex’s forte in his work that he has maintained for years and sub-consciously; the artist always asserts that he works in the sub-conscious; lures his audience to his art. To fully achieve this visual inquiry in the sculptures in exhibit, the artist works with non- conventional material like aluminum, binding wire, painted sponge, hardened paper and body fillers. These materials collected from his immediate surrounding which include motor garages and garbage fills, possess a quality of randomness imbued in them as a result of their left-over identity. This is a powerful quality because it allows the artist to plunge into his experimental processes to produce artworks that almost appear playful in nature but are startling to an expert’s eye.

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Ronex’s obsession with the human anatomy is evident in this showcase where he displays several women figurines in different mediums to illustrate the beauty of the human physique. The artist’s intense concentration on the human body; exploring it completely with non- conventional media; underscores his studio deftness and technical competence. An artist is never fully an artist unless he can flawlessly draw the human figure. At the same time, through his exploration of the human form he constructs conversations around themes of social wellbeing like human relationships, love, dreams and fantasies, feminism and gender identity. In this, the artist performs the role of a social commentor thereby giving his art a voice to comment on what happens in his immediate community.

The sculpture portraits hanging on the walls have mainly the subject of nubile women and children which communicate to us what the artist sees and observes in his community of Makerere Kikoni on the outskirts of Kampala. The neighbourhood is awash with numerous hostels for Makerere University students, especially girls. Overlooking these storeyed abodes are a multitude of slums with hundreds of young children who routinely engage in different games. Ronex’s captures the day-to-day life of these characters in his portraits though often with whimsical undertones to elicit the attention of the viewer. But while the artist is keen to provide a social commentary on what he observes in his immediate surrounding and sometimes his personal experiences, he delicately navigates the subject of recycling in his art. The artist has often paid attention the theme of recycling in art by working with metal debris and other non- degradable material to confront the subject of environment conversation. This gives his work international relevance and visibility.

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With this kind of show, Ronex has further etched his name among some of the luminary artists of his generation. Not withstanding the technical prowess that is required to produce such sculptures on display, Ronex’s studio production seem to be purposeful to create a legacy on the Ugandan contemporary art scene. With a delicate balance between what he was taught at art school and his natural talent to focus on the unusual he has already embarked on this lifetime trajectory. Therefore, as we’re gripped with the artist’s mastery in sculptural work, we wonder what the artist will be up to next year. He definitely will excite, engage and stimulate deep conversations for his audiences near and far.


The exhibition, Formation, is showing at Umoja Art gallery located on Moyo Close, Bukoto.

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