While incredibly creative and popular Ugandan art stills suffers from modest support for both the artists and their work. Fas Fas Art -a creative space with a café bar in Bugolobi – is helping to remedy this by providing a much needed venue in Kampala. The space, whose name is drawn from the phrase ‘give way’ in Lugandan dialect, opened in November last year and is a platform for artists to meet, discuss and exhibit their work.
The partnership behind Fas Fas is two artists, Ugandan Ronex Ahimbisibwe and Slovenian Katja Lenart. They play host to art forums and debates which are both spontaneous and organized through different art affiliations like, Bayimba or Ugandan Arts Trust. Fas Fas is in the process of establishing a library, a database on Ugandan artists, and an art corner that will have material for guests to use.
“The idea of the project was to find a synergy between cultures, create space for artists to express themselves without limitation,” says Lenart who has worked as an artist and art journalist in both Uganda and Europe.
Ronex, who just celebrated his 10 years of artistic expression agrees, “Two different cultural aspects are combined to develop a cozy and creative platform for artists.”
The atmosphere is inviting with artistic creations everywhere you look – like wheelbarrow chairs, painted wooden tables, ashtrays recycled from old tins and spoons, and display of works from local and international artists. Despite its dedication to artists, Fas Fas is open to anyone, even those who make no claim to either understanding or enjoying art.
On any given day, customers are at tables and couches playing games of ludo, chess, cards, and frisbee with the owners and staff. Fas Fas also gives a platform to musicians who want to play any genre of music and patrons are encouraged to share their music or Fas Fas will play it on their system if brought on flash disk.
Although close to the road, Fas Fas is a quiet haven with music kept at a level that is gentle on the ear. The crowd is still small and intimate but swells on Wednesdays between 8.00-10.00pm when the weekly Jam Session provides entertainment ranging from Afro-Fusion and Hip-Hop, to Jazz. There is a collection of instruments like drums, cans forks, and shakers-which customers use to join in or make their own music.
Art exhibitions aside, another popular event is, ‘Pimp Your Property’ every first Sunday of the month. Regulars bring in old clothes, scissors, paint and just about anything and everything happens to recycle (or upcycle) the products for their next life with the help of artists. In June, Fas Fas held the first ‘Facebook Addict Retreat’ with free snacks, art, a play ground and face painting.
The menu is influenced by Slovenian, Mediterranean, and Continental cuisine. The Slovenian pancake comes highly recommended as do the Slovenian-style friend potatoes, Katja’s sandwiches, nutella pancake, Slovenian bread and the Yugoslavian plate (chevapcici). Homemade bread and cakes are made to order with food catering arrangements for private parties.
Menu prices at Fas Fas remain relatively low with dishes priced between 12,000-20,000 UGX a plate and group meals (for 4 to 6 people) not usually going above 50,000 UGX. Fresh juice is served for 3.000 UGX, a beer is at 4.000 UGX, and a glass of wine is 7,000 UGX. Hot beverages are between 2,000-7,000 UGX with spirits ranging from 3,000-10,000 UGX.
At Fas Fas you’ll never have nothing to do. Eat, drink, smoke shisha, buy clothes and jewelry, or get a tattoo (make sure to book first! 0781091614). There’s a monthly Poetry in Session and Meet the Artist (exhibition) as well as workshops, and vocal training.
Private parties, lunch meetings and workshops can be accommodated with prices determined by number of people, nature and duration of event.