Our story starts in Masaka, a city in central Uganda located two hours south of the capital, Kampala. It's widely believed that the name Masaka comes from the word 'Amasaka' which means sorghum in the Rwandese language, Kinyarwanda. Given Masaka’s fertile soils, the area was a haven for pastoralists who migrated from present-day Rwanda and Tanzania during the pre-colonial era. Among other staple crops, Masaka grew a lot of sorghum, which was used to feed humans and animals and to make beer. Masaka has now evolved into a culturally diverse community, one which is uniquely positioned as a hub for trade and cultural production.
It is here where Amasaka Gallery was founded in 2020 by artist Collin Sekajugo. The gallery is dedicated to showcasing work by emerging artists and offering space and mentorship for creative growth and experimentation. Having originated from Sekajugo’s artist program The Weaver Bird Residency, the gallery’s spirit was one of nurturing the local art scene all along. Its program is constantly evolving to incorporate a variety of artistic practices ranging from photography over painting and installation. Situated in Masaka City instead of the Capital, it is renegotiating the hierarchy of spaces, inviting the “center” to look beyond its confines and the art scene to step outside of its comfort zone. Enjoying the luxury of spatial ambiguity, the gallery is operating a satellite space in Kampala and proposing collaborations with art spaces around the world in the form of pop-up exhibitions and other exchanges. Still in its infancy, the gallery is growing together with its artists to constantly redefine itself, incorporate new perspectives and extend its scope of collaborations.