Kasalina Maliamu Nabakooza ’18, an MFA student in electronic arts, has been invited to present a talk on her thesis Buganda Art: Kakooza & Nabakooza at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda, this month. She also will be screening her hand-drawn animation Kakooza to the university’s Fine Arts Department.
Nabakooza’s thesis focuses on the canon of contemporary African art before 1980, specifically in Uganda, “which is a beautiful, landlocked equatorial country located in East Africa,” she said.
Nabakooza began her research at Rensselaer with the rediscovery of her uncle George Kakooza’s unpublished dissertation from the 1970s. Her objective is to do further research to preserve his legacy and make it accessible to others in the future.
In September, Nabakooza will begin a master of arts degree program at New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts in New York City. She says what drew her to the program are opportunities for research in conservation and curation. Since September 2016, Nabakooza has been the student curator of the Shelnutt Gallery in Rensselaer’s Student Union. She has curated four shows there, and a screen print Nabakooza made of Stephen Van Rensselaer’s manor house for one of these exhibitions is now in the permanent collection of the Rensselaer County Historical Society.
Her exhibitions ranged widely from an homage to Marcel Duchamp with Rensselaer architecture students, to a show on wearable robotics with electronic arts Ph.D. candidate Kathleen McDermott.
Nabakooza completed her undergraduate degree in comparative literature at New York University in 2009. She also earned a certificate to teach visual arts in New York state K-12 from SUNY Buffalo State in 2014. Prior to attending Rensselaer, she was a docent at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo and a historical interpreter at the Harriet Beecher Stowe House in Hartford, Connecticut.
Makerere University’s motto is “We Build for the Future.” Generating a dialogue between past and future generations is a key component of Nabakooza’s work. With this presentation, she is connecting her research at Rensselaer to a global audience.