RAM Galleri, Oslo, Norway
RAM Galleri is proud to present the first Scandinavian solo exhibition of Acaye Kerunen, a multidisciplinary performance and installation artist, storyteller, writer, actress, and activist based in Kampala, Uganda.
Kerunen represented Uganda at the 2022 Venice Biennale alongside Collin Sekajugo, in the two-person exhibition Radiance: They Dream in Time. The presentation showcased Kerunen and Sekajugo's shared interest in deconstructing western tropes about Africa and the othering of African art. Radiance: They Dream in Time marked Uganda’s inaugural participation in the Venice Biennale, and received the biennale jury Special Mention award for best national participation together with France. Several of the works shown in Venice will be included in the exhibition at RAM, thanks to the generous loans of international collectors and art institutions.
Kerunen is recognized for her multidisciplinary practice across media and performance, as well as her advocacy. Her continuous engagement with women’s issues—from liberation and the dismantling of colonial and patriarchal structures to poverty and domestic violence—is embodied through her many artistic pursuits. Throughout her life she has performed in plays and musical theatre and is a poet and writer, published in multiple outlets both in her native Uganda and worldwide.
The processes of unmaking and remaking are central to Kerunen’s practice. She challenges a history which confines African women’s artmaking to utilitarian practices, such as weaving to produce mats and baskets, rather than weaving for the sake of artmaking. Kerunen collaborates with primary artisans, mostly women, to produce the woven, dyed, and hand crafted materials in her work. Her practice incorporates the many cultures of the Great Lakes region, of which Uganda is a part, in order to convey the deep connection of making and being as a manifestation for change. Drawing on the natural environment, Kerunen’s work utilizes materials including raffia, banana fiber, stripped sorghum stems, reeds, and palm leaves. The titles of her works are in Alur, Swahili, or Luganda, representing her family background and the women artisans she employs.