Robert Ssempijja

Contemporary artist, dance researcher, Uganda

Robert Ssempijja is a Ugandan contemporary artist and dance researcher who works in traditional and non-traditional spaces in an era of post-colonialism and decolonization. In his practice he presses against the body’s physical limits to create work that is utterly sincere. He addresses social, political and cultural issues, creating meaning through the interplay of the physical body, psychological world of the mind, human emotions, and the soul. He is committed to constructing a sustainable scene for contemporary dance in Uganda.

Ssempijja’s research project will take the viewer on a journey of selfdiscovery while confronting decolonial questions about the nature of home and belonging. His installation performance will investigate the colonial foundations which underpinned the architecture of Kampala City and their contemporary impacts. It will explore the weight of the city’s colonial past, the people’s endurance, and the ways in which identity can be formed by a city’s structural design. It will highlight the weight that every new generation in Uganda has to bear, whether they are aware of it or not. It is a project that questions how a country, a city and a people can be expected to grow and thrive when the foundations on which they stand were neither built nor meant for them.