Go Back On Ceramics, Untameable Presidents and Weak Laws in Uganda: Art and the Expression of Dictatorship in a Postcolonial African State


Why do some African leaders superintend unjust regimes? How would a visual answer to that question shape ceramic art? In 2013 and 20141 re-posed these questions as I did a pot on which I critiqued the law in Uganda as a basis for dictatorship. In this essay, I use Platonic lenses as I revisit them and use a multidisciplinary methodology to discuss the ceramic art of five artists: Bruno Sserukuuma, Tony Bukenya, Mark John Ssemuju, Ismail Kasozi and myself, Angelo Kakande. I argue that bad leaders in Uganda (and elsewhere in Africa) are not unjust because they are bad. Rather, they are unjust because the law allows them to get away with unjustness and that in such an environment being unjust is a proper course available for them. I apply this doctrine in the essay to demonstrate that ceramics can be a medium through which this vexed political debate can be navigated as ceramics artists critique the health of the postcolonial nation state in Africa without attracting repression. The article adds to available knowledge on the participation of contemporary artists in Africa's brutal politics.

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