Remember the days of Super Strikars? Or Spider man? Well, we happen to have an annual event right here in Uganda, where likeminded people just like those who created the above comic books you love link up and share, discuss ideas and interact with fellows in the art industry and show off some off their work to the people present. This goes down at the annual Digi Art Fest. Let me set you a scenario. Picture a room with a swarm of gamers, exhibitors and housing over 500 persons; all in one mega place. So was the scenario at the just concluded two-day expo of the annual Digi Art Fest that took place in the Banquet Hall at the Acacia Mall organized by Tribe Uganda, Elupe House of Comics and animation, and other art studios in conjunction with the Gamers Hub Kampala. The event now in its 3rd edition has been in place since 2017, with them having it take place at the Design Hub in Bugolobi for the first two editions, and later due to the soaring number of people showing up for the event, the organizers decided to move it to an even more advanced and diverse venue. While speaking to Ssentongo Charles, one of the lead creatives at Elupe House of Comics and animation, he told us that the event has over the time come to become big and even bigger than they even could ever imagine. So, this time round, we decided to switch things up and move the event to an even bigger venue, hence the Acacia consideration.
Well in, the Digi Art Fest is an annual event that happens every December. It aims at growing and promoting the Ugandan creative Arts industry including comics, animation, and video games so as to enable them grown and be able to reach the global; market, to build, mentor and inspire art in the younger generations interested in creative arts as a hobby or as a career path and building our career identity and promoting contemporary African art and design exclusive original content through projects, partnered events and different mediums such as the Digi Art Fest among others.
In a bid to celebrate achieve this, Tribe Uganda through the Digi Art fest always gives a platform to digital art enthusiasts such as animators, illustrators, and artists in general to showcase their works and those in progress to the public at this two-day event, as they meet and interact with comrades in the field of animation, comic designing through exhibitions, classes and workshops. The event attracts people from all walks of life, to come witness first hand creativity from Uganda, first hand. From university students, to gamers, to investors, designers all with one main goal; to appreciate and celebrate Ugandan art. This year alone, we saw over five studios, each with unique items and innovations to unveil to the attendees. These included;
Reminac Comics who told us about their new short film (Muffled Voices) and also showed off some of their finest works such as “My first day on an aero plane”, and “School days” comic books.
Creatures Animation studio weren’t represented at the event but however promised to unveil their new project “Suubi” next year. Creatures Animation studio are best known for being the makers of award winning animated short film “A Kakalabanda ate my homework”) also represented at the event. And The Zimba Games Studio, representing on behalf of
Enter Africa had a major presence at the event as well and as they brought out their famous board games such as as ludo, snakes and ladders, picture puzzles, word puzzles, for public view and purchase.
Black Meteor studio also was available. They had live digital sketches off a Cyntiq. And for those of you who might not know what this is, Well, a Cyntiq is a computer used by sketch artists.
Makers of “Sunjata”, a video game for console and Xbox game the Klan of Kings studio were also in attendance at the Digi Art Fest.
In place was also folks of Mongola Studios. These produce various illustrations from animated feature short film, to coloring books, shirts, picture portraits and they did give us a hint about their upcoming animated film called “JEMO” that they told us would be out come 20th December on their official YouTube channel. They also informed us about their ongoing webcomic series called “OLWATUUKA” that is available online.
Tonda Animations in conjunction with Sketch Klan Ug exhibited one of their projects “The Ugandan Series” (an animated series of an animated journey through a story of a nation. Talking about the diversity in people’s culture and heritage),
Elupe House of Comics and animation on the other hand had sketched illustrations and comics during the exhibition as well. Books such as “Olufumo Lwa Buganda” (Legend of Buganda) a book about Buganda Kingdom’s documented history in both English and Luganda languages, apparel such as shirts, caps, and did I tell you they also had some lollipops too (for those with a sweet tongue, this would be the catch). and Bella Art among others.
Agix Creative Studio, a 3D and 2D animations, Motion Graphics, VFX, branding and Advertising studio was also present.
KAB Comics came through with one of “Ndahura” one of their best ones so far and was now available in its 2nd issue, an action packed one. And last but not least was; the renown lady herself Isabella Mwanza, of Bella body art, best known for her good work she does with doing body art was also in attendance at the Digi Art Fest, embedding beautiful designs on the skins of those who wished like it.
The gaming part of the event was by far one of the most exciting and most anticipated part of the fest as the gaming parlor came off as the most popular and preferred section of the entire event. This had people crowding the place as early as ten o’clock in the morning so as to participate in the various games available. Gamers nights, a passionate group of PC gamers had a league of legends and Call of Duty tournament played by teams that attracted spectators at the event.With Tribe Uganda partnering with various gaming studios, such as Gamers Nights a group of passionate PC gamers, who showcased some of the video games that got many young people excited. 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. Did I also mention that there was a contest as participants were battling it out to see who’d come out as the FIFA 20 champion in the FIFA 20 TOURNAMENT? This one was as a result of a collaboration with the Gamers Studio as their other gaming partner, this was indeed the opportunity for soccer video game lovers to shine as they would also get a chance to leave rewarded, especially those in the top three spots.
The event was wound up with the eventual awarding of the top 3 winners in the football tournament, where we had the third runners up walking away with a cash prize of 250,000/=, the second with Ugx. 500,000 and the overall number one bagging one million Ugandan shillings.
My overall favorite 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 home bred names such as Kakama, Otim. I surely can not wait to attend next year’s edition. Kudos to Tribe Uganda for having yet another successful event. See you at the #DigiArtFest20 next year.