Lela Pit Exhibition

Home » Lela Pit Exhibition


‘This exhibition explores the relationship of women with their bikes in the North of Uganda. Unlike the capital city, Kampala, where women rarely ride bikes, despite the prevalence of boda-bodas for public and private transport, many women in the North use bikes for transport and moving goods.

The work celebrates the bike as the women’s travelling companion – wot ki lakwany lum iwangi (it’s good to have a companion, especially when travelling).

This emphasis mirrors Henry’s own practice of the Wandering Studio, a mobile photo studio that Henry developed in Kampala, whose name reflects his status as a traveller in East Africa. His work in the North builds on this wandering, translating the world through his photographer’s eye.

In the first series, Henry captures the women in transit, practising a quick frame method that allows him to pose the women as they are. The focus is placed on them in such a way that the relationship between the woman and her bike is highlighted, while remaining embedded in the environment. In these images, the women are centred and given full attention; unlike ethnographic images, where people can be presented almost as extensions of the land to be conquered.

In the second series, Henry places even more emphasis on the women by bringing his Wandering Studio practice to Gulu. He builds a backdrop to take studio shots in the tradition of African photographers such as James Barnor and Seydou Keita, who used studio photography to canonise everyday life on the continent. With this approach, Henry pushes his practice further, experimenting with more daring poses that enhance the relationship between the woman and her bike. Here, the bike becomes almost an appendage of the woman, showcasing her control over the tool and the way she wields its power to carry out her wishes.’- Tracian Meikle, Lela Pit exhibition curator

Lela Pit Exhibition curated by Tracian Meikle opened on Monday 24th June 2024 at the Afropocene Capsule at Yujo Izakaya, 36 Kyadondo Road, Kampala. 

Away from the usual curatorial statements that stand out boldly at the beginning of an exhibition, you’re met with what looks like pages of a book!  Each page details something about the exhibition: a curatorial statement: exhibition flyer, images, artist bio, and sponsors. 

Once done flipping the framed pages, you step into the intimate capsule and are treated to stunning, majestic photos of women on bicycles and boda bodas aka motorcycles. The women are of all age groups but each exudes an air of strength.

One of the crowd’s favourite images is the one with a woman in a cream-flowered kitenge dress with a lace blue wrapper and blue and red rollers in her hair! She is standing with the bicycle in front of her.  The beauty that this one photo radiates is glorious and fascinating. 

The frames are lined with chains, a minor but thoroughly thought through detail that further encapsulates the women on bike theme.

Outside the capsule, in the top right corner of the fence, a photo of a woman seated on her boda boda, carrying a black backpack at the front, her baby on her back is erected at The Female Boda Stage, an initiative, Women on Wheels, and one of the few places where women ride bikes from in Kampala. This photo is one of the very first images Henry took in 2023 that aptly captures the magnificence of the woman and her bike. 

About the artist: 

Henry Robinson is a Uganda-based visual artist born and bred in Jamaica. He has worked in film and photography in the Caribbean and the United Kingdom. He uses portrait photography to explore what intrigues him about his subjects, answering questions about them with each shot. In addition to working with numerous commercial clients such as Puma and Google, his work has been featured in Plantain magazine and exhibited at King’s College in London.

This work builds on his residency at Afropocene StudioLab in September 2022, during which he spent part of his time in Northern Uganda.

The project is proudly supported by Goethe Zentrum Kampala/Ugandan German Cultural Society in collaboration with Afropocene StudioLab.  The exhibition is open until 19th July 2024.