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Martin Kharumwa | Research Trip

Switzerland | Visual Arts

July 2023 — Visual Arts

Martin Kharumwa

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Ugandan photographer and visual artist Martin Kharumwa has been selected to participate in the month-long “Photography and the Anthropocene” research residency programme at Photoforum Pasquart in Biel/Bienne, Switzerland.

For the month of July 2023, Martin will be based at the artist studio of Photoforum Pasquart to develop research and work exploring the intersection of art, photography and the environment. In addition, the programme includes visits to Swiss institutions and meetings with curators, researchers and other artists from the region.

Martin is a self-taught photographer and has built a career as a freelance editorial and documentary photographer, producing stories for non-profit organisations and foreign press publications. He is the co-founder of Afropocene Studio Lab in Kampala, an artist-run space hosting workshops, residencies and open studios to engage the art community.

More recently, Martin has pivoted from image taker to image maker, with the aim of creating nuanced images that articulate his experiences on the continent and how the collective aesthetic is reflected in its diversity.

He explains, “Through this residency I hope to research and build my understanding of representation of the African continent through archives as well as reflect on work from contemporary African photographers today in the diaspora and on the continent. With hopes to continue to contribute to the ongoing conversations surrounding our climate, decolonisation and the practice of image making as it concerns African people’s self-representation.”

During his time in Switzerland, Martin hopes to share his experimentations with barkpaper (made with the bark of the matuba tree) with Swiss paper mills to learn about its quality and archival properties. He also plans to visit archives housing indigenous African objects, textiles and images for his current project “Son of Ocol”. The project will be presented at Afropocene as an open studio format exhibition that aims to engage audiences in the creative process. Drawing from various archives, Martin explains that the goal of the project is to collate a “collection of illustrations and images drawn from recorded objects, textiles, books and images about East Africa and relaying and referring to these past artworks, to address contemporary subject matter such as our relationship with the environment.”


Photoforum Pasquart is one of the leading institutions for photography in Switzerland. Located in the heart of Switzerland and between two linguistic regions, it is the main partner of the annual Biel/Bienne Festival of Photography. The Photoforum, which is dedicated to emerging Swiss and international photography, occupies a special place in the Swiss photography scene and is an important platform for photographers at the beginning and middle of their careers.