Antonio Bukhar & Faizal Ddamba are two Ugandese performing artists who are both interested in exploring the relation between European contemporary choreography and African traditional dance, and introducing dance in community settings in and around their native Kampala.
Historically, in the music, dance and arts-scene of many African countries there has been a discussion about European versus local languages and between western forms of expression and African-based forms. In order to investigate this for themselves, Antonio and Faizal, together with two dancers from Germany and a colleague from Zimbabwe, founded Kuenda Productions. The organization represents a generation of artists that no longer ask questions about one form, one style, and one authentic artistic expression. Its members are on a journey, searching to create in-between conventional categories. Starting from traditional dance forms in Uganda, they integrate urban styles and other things they find along the way, to widen and change the form and style. The fuse their dance forms with Jazz, Pop, Contemporary forms, classical dance, and spatial elements. They continually question format, working methods and forms of collaboration in which each individual artist influences the end result.
Being sensitive to each other’s wishes and sharing responsibility are the main focus. International networking is part of sustaining this collaboration, but also the grass roots work in Kampala. For example, after doing outreach work in European high schools Antonio uses part of his earnings to finance activities in the Makerere Kivulu township. In many of the marginal areas of Kampala there are very few if any artistic facilities. Antonio and his partners work to empower young people through dance and to offer them an alternative to more destructive forms of life.
In Kampala, they offer workshops, interactive games and discussions, and present performances. Through their activities in Uganda and in Germany they try to foster communication links between Ugandan youths with those at a similar age in Europe. These forged connections typically go well beyond mere artistic exchange.