In this episode, we talk with Sylar Robert Sempija, a Ugandan contemporary artist and dance researcher.
He talks about his experiences as an artist on the African continent and in the rest of the world. We also look in depth at the benefits of international artistic collaborations and the challenges that come with them. He always asks himself the question, "Am I here because of my art or because I am a black artist?" This is one of the questions he advises black artists from the African continent to ask themselves before engaging in international art collaborations with the global North.
Ssempijja Robert, born in Uganda, is a contemporary artist and dance researcher; whose career exists within formal and informal dance settings.
Striving to surpass the limits of the physical body through the creation of honest art, he combines Ugandan traditional dance, breakdance, and contemporary dance techniques in his artThis process happens together with choreographers he meets like, Christoph Winkler, based in Germany; Nora Chipaumire, based in New York/Zimbabwe; Qudus Onikeku, based in Nigeria; Patrick Acogny, based in France/Senegal and many more. Working in the era of post-colonialism and decolonization, Sempijja travels in between these worlds to find a way to construct a sustainable scene for contemporary dance in Uganda.
Ssempijja’s work takes a critical view of social, political, and cultural issues. Creating expression through the interplay of various elements, such as internal and external experiences that connect the physical body, psychological world of the mind, human emotions, and the soul, is his artistic aesthetic.
Ssempijja is also curious to know how the body creates and transfer information as well as secrets into movement which build up the body’s own vocabulary. He assumes that our bodies are comprised of archives of information which are activated when it comes to movement. He is schooled in Burkina Faso, Tanzania, Rwanda as well as Uganda. He did a diploma in dance at École des Sables in Senegal and he founded Dance Revolution East Africa.
Get in touch with Sylar Robert Ssempijja:
Facebook: Sylar Robert Ssempijja
Instagram: Sylar Robert Ssempijja
Twitter: @sylar Robert
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