This DigiArt Fest recap post originally appeared on Mugibson Writes but has been heavily edited for clarity, context and style.
Picture this, a mega room full of gamers, exhibitors and over 500 people. That was the scene at the just concluded annual DigiArt Fest. The two-day geek expo, now in its third year took place in the Banquet Hall at the Acacia Mall.
According to Ssentongo Charles of Elupe, DigiArt Fest has grown bigger than imagined, thus the decision to switch things up and move to a bigger space and more equipped space than the Design Hub in Buglobi where it has been held since 2017.
Organized by Tribe Uganda, Elupe House of Comics and Animation, and other art studios in conjunction with the Gamers Hub Kampala, DigiArt Fest aims to grow and promote Ugandan creative arts particularly comic books, video games and animation in order for them to rapidly evolve into global phenomena. It also aims to mentor and inspire art in the next generation, whether as a hobby or a career path.
To achieve this, DigiArt Fest was created as a platform where creatives (illustrators, animators, game developers and more) exhibit their work, whether finished or in-progress with like-minded people and the general public. It’s a great opportunity to network with and learn from the creatives putting Uganda on the map.
DigiArt Fest attracts people from all walks of life to experience Ugandan creativity firsthand. This includes students, artists, designers, gamers, investors, art enthusiasts and more. The event is a celebration of Ugandan art and this year alone about ten amazing studios showcasing unique and exciting projects.
These included Reminac Comics, Enter Africa, Black Meteor Studio, Klan of Kings Studio, Mongola Studios, Tonda Animation, Elupe House of Comics and Animation, KAB Comics and Agix Creative Studio.
Ronald Kayima’s Klan of the Kings Studio, creators of the BangBang comic showcased Sunjata: Trumpet of Last Day, a fantasy video game scheduled for release on Playstation 4 and Xbox One in 2020.
Samuel Kabali’s Tonda Animation in conjunction with SketchKlan Ug showcased The Ugandan Series, an animated series that recounts the origins of the Ugandan people, starting from The Bachwezi.
Louis Lubega’s Mongola Studios was also present, exhibiting Olwatuuka, the studio’s ongoing dark fantasy webcomic series that is available on Kugali and Webtoon. The studio also announced release dates for their animated series, Jemo.
Reminac Comics exhibited off some of their comics including School Days and My First Day on an Aeroplane. They also announced an upcoming short film, Muffled Voices which inspired by the School Days comic book.
Considering the calibre and number of illustrators present at DigiArt Fest, live drawing sessions were no surprise. The folks at Black Meteor Studio did live digital sketches off a Wacom Cintiq drawing display.
Elupe, on the other hand, did paper sketches of some of their comics and other subjects. Comics such as Olufumo Lwa Buganda, (translated as Legend of Buganda) were drawn. The studio also showcased its portfolio of comics.
KAB Comics also came through with copies of Ndahura, now available in its action-packed second issue.
What’s an art convention without body art? Isabella Mwanza of Bella Body Art decorated the faces and body parts of people at the event.
Other studios present were Agix Creative Studio (a 3D and 2D animations, motion graphics, VFX, branding and advertising company) and The Zimba Games Studio. The Zimba Games Studio, who was there on behalf of Enter Africa were heavily represented at the event. The studio showcased its famous board games such as ludo, snakes and ladders, picture puzzles and word puzzles.
Creatures Animation, the studio behind the award-winning A Kalabanda Ate My Homework sadly weren’t present. They, however, promised to premiere their next film, Suubi at DigiArt Fest in 2020.
Gaming was the biggest attraction at the festival and one of the most anticipated. People crowded at the gaming arena as early as 10 AM to take part in the games available. League of Legends and Call of Duty tournaments were hed by Gamers Nights, a passionate group of PC gamers.
Other than hosting these tournaments, Gamers Nights, as well as other gaming studios, showcased several video games such as DiRt 4, Jump Force, Forza Horizon 4, Call of Duty Modern War III, which put smiles on the faces of game enthusiasts.
Gamer Studio, another gaming partner also held a FIFA 20 tournament, giving soccer game fans a chance to show off their skills for a reward.
The top gamer in the tournament walked away with USh1 million (1 million Ugandan Shillings) while the other 2 winners received USh500,000 and USh250,000 respectively.
My overall favourite thing to see must have been seeing how much creativity and groove these artists put in to produce their works. I mean, the characters in the stories in the comics had our very own homebred names such as Kakama, Otim. I surely cannot wait to attend next year’s edition. Kudos to Tribe Uganda for having yet another successful event. See you at the #DigiArtFest20 next year.”Mugibson Writes
Check out some photos from DigiArt Fest 2019 below.
Watch a video recap of the festival by City TV Uganda below.