Papa Shabani’s photography explores the boundary between art and documentary. His art practice aims to peel off the layers of the viewers’ preconceptions that often camouflage his subjects, so that he can document them in their unabridged form.
Through committed research, he uncovers what lies underneath a layman’s perception of the issues surrounding his subjects. He then converses with the subjects to assimilate their character, their very essence. Finally by building an intimate relationship with his subjects, he is able to capture his subjects’ integrity through the lens, that inner beauty which is a fusion of their dignity and vulnerability.
Kampala, City of Dreams.
Kampala, city of broken dreams, forgotten possibilities.
Dreamy Kampala; don’t wake me up (if you ever read this).
The city, I belong. Here, is my space.
And, how I see it is what you see the way I feel it.
Just let me be, just look at this, just don’t stop, this is my space and my house my, And
I see peace in the chaos; My City is a Portrait.
I, Keep going so let me go and keep on keeping on until it gets better.
My City is my House. So, in my position I,
I see music in the chaos; I’m authoritative when,
I shut when I release then I create.
Born in 1990, Papa is an award winning Ugandan photographer (Uganda Press Photo Awards 2013 and 2014), formerly a student of Margaret Trowell School of Industrial and Fine Arts at Makerere University (2011-2014). He was among 18 Ugandan artists selected from a list of 70 applicants to take part in the KLA ART ’014/ Kampala Contemporary Art Festival that ran throughout October 2014 in which the international jury voted for his project (Le Studio Boda-Boda) was the winner of the ‘New Talent Award’. This project engaged and documented public transport motorbike riders (boda-bodas) in photography activities at different motorbike stops in Kampala.
Papa has recently participated in the following: Just Another Photo Festival, India, Sept 2015; Millerntor Gallery/Viva Con Agua, Germany, April- Nov 2015;
Norderlicht Photo Festival, Netherlands, 2015; In Dialogue I: Deciphering and Reclaiming Histories, Framer Framed August 2015; Artist in residence, Kuona Trust, Nairobi, Kenya, April 2015; Afrika Arts Kollective, Sept-Dec, 2014; 32° East | Ugandan Arts Trust with History In Progress Uganda, May-August 2014.