On the background of the recent celebration of International Women’s Day and Mother’s Day in many countries, Kansiime Brian Lister’s online art exhibition highlights the beauty and power of African women. The show is titled Resilience, the ten pieces that make up the body of work being showcased in the show are all in praise and adoration of the African woman as the cornerstone of the human race.
Though he is a well-known artist in Uganda, with over a decade of experience in painting, Kansiime Brian Lister, a graduate of Makerere University, is also not new in venturing beyond his home country. His adventurous creativity has seen him exhibit or have artistic engagements in other African countries, as well as in Europe and America. Lister’s figurative paintings belong to the painting genre whereby achromatic (black and white) is painted on the skin, while the clothing and background retain the chromatic range of colours. His primary mediums are oil and acrylic, which he uses to revive the unspoken aspects of human emotions. The beauty and essence of womanhood are captured in Lister’s colours and symbolism, which helps emphasize their power and connections within the context of shared African history and contemporary lifestyle. His paintings show women in their youth, unfazed and forward-looking.
Kansiime’s show speaks to how in the Face of Adversity, black women have persevered and thrived despite the obstacles they often encounter on their way. The works depict moments of struggle and triumph. Brian says, “I explore the concept of celebrating joy as a form of resistance for black women.” He freezes and crystalizes moments of these sentiments, such as joy, laughter, and community in the face of oppression and discrimination. Lister’s artistic style projects the idea of sisterhood and a shared sense of togetherness born out of the need for African women to maintain a special bond powered by understanding. It is in recognition of this burden of tragedies endured by black people in a world that thrives off oppression.
Some of the titles to be shown by Brian include Awakening, Away from home, Colors Around Me, Turning Point, Knowledge is Power, Better Memories, and My Special Place. In the work Awakening, Lister praises the qualities of the African woman who finds strength in the unknown while facing challenges with courage and poise. He describes the life journey of the African woman as one filled with joy despite the challenges she encounters on her way. She embraces every moment, every day of her life, knowing that the world is waiting for her to arise. In his work titled Solitude, Lister assumes the voice of the African woman. “I stand alone, but never, for in my soul, a fire does resiliently speak, of hope, of love,” he says.
Between 2021 and 2022, Lister had exhibitions and other artistic engagements with galleries in Nigeria. His current exhibition presented by Ogirikan Gallery is for him another homecoming. In Lister’s words, “art is not just what I create, it is the way I see the world and the beauty I find in it. Through my art, I hope to share my vision and inspire others to see the world in a different light.” With his talent and dedication to his craft, Kansiime Brian Lister is a truly inspiring artist whose work speaks to the human experience in a powerful way.