Ebifananyi, The Photographers Trilogy
Andrea Stultiens, Canon Griffin, Deo Kyakulagira, Elly Rwakoma, Musa Katuramu
There are significant differences between the words used for ‘pictures captured on light sensitive surfaces with the use of a camera’ in Luganda and in English. Ekifananyi is the Luganda word that is used to signify a photograph, but it does not mean a photograph. The noun “ekifananyi” is derived from the verb kufanana, meaning to be similar to. Based on this observation, Dutch artist Andrea Stultiens started to investigate the implications of this particular conceptualisation of photographs, which led to a series of eight books titled, “Ebifananyi,” the plural of the singular ekifananyi. In presentations of historical photographs from Africa, Uganda was—until recently—only mentioned in relation to photographs produced by non-Ugandans or members of the Ugandan diaspora. The first three books in the Ebifananyi series change this status quo by presenting photographs produced by Deo Kyakulagira (1940-2000), Musa Katuramu (1916-1983) and Elly Rwakoma (ca.1938).
The photographic legacy of these men is activated in collaborations with family members and, in the case of Rwakoma, the photographer himself. Curator Andrea Stultiens and Ugandan artist Canon Griffin responded to the historical photographs in pictures and films.
Andrea Stultiens received a BFA and MFA in photography at HKU University of the Arts and at AKV St Joost in Breda, the Netherlands respectively, and a MA in photographic studies from Leiden University. She is currently finalizing a practice-based PhD at the same university and divides her time between the Netherlands and Uganda.
Stultiens’ artistic practice deals with photographs in relation to understandings of the presentations of histories. Since 2007, she mainly works with photographs made on the African continent. She thinks of her artistic and research practice as a non-hierarchical collective making that is necessary to explore photographic imagery in complex and potentially problematic post-colonial settings.
Since 2002, Stultiens has been teaching at Minerva Art Academy / Hanze University of Applied Sciences in Groningen (NL). Since 2013, she has been involved in the research department of the university, where she focuses on the use of photographs in artistic practices, with an emphasis on intercultural and interdisciplinary contexts. Stultiens has won several awards, among others, the Steenbergen Stipendium 1998, Bouw in Beeld Prijs 2009, GiDi Photo Art Award 2012. She exhibits and publishes internationally, with a focus on Uganda and the Netherlands.