A Snapshot of Kampala’s Dizzying Party District

In a glossy book, Michele Sibiloni draws a provocative and reflective portrait of Kampala's nightlife.

© Michele Sibiloni, excerpt from the book Fuck It

After working for two years on assignment from Uganda and RDC, covering the Ugandan elections in 2011, the independence of South Sudan, and other events of those years in the region, Michele Sibiloni found himself in a photography crisis.

“It was important for me to look for a personal element, to include something of my experience in my photographs”, he explains.

A party animal himself, Sibiloni decided to dive into Kampala’s night, following its peaks of joy and sadness. For two years, he forced himself out almost every night, looking for encounters and adventures. The result is an unexpected gallery of fun and limitlessness sparked with loneliness and darkness.

© Michele Sibiloni, excerpt from the book Fuck It

“The girl in the last picture, Liz, died last week. Things go fast there – people were born and die without notice. People living in the street can disappear really fast”, he adds. “That’s kind of shocking.”

The pictures are at first glance flashy, flirting with trashy at times. The glossy cover of the book supports that impression, though the feature was inherited from the series of dummies that he printed in Kampala while working on the editing. Despite its apparent lightness and hectic energy, the series unravels the dire complexity of Uganda. “Uganda is a conservative and religious society where corrupt politicians are trying to push conservative law such as that against homosexuality, for instance. It is also a country where you don’t have political freedom - you can’t gather 10 people and talk about politics - but you have the freedom to drink and go out”, Sibiloni recounts.

© Michele Sibiloni, excerpt from the book Fuck It

Unlike neighboring countries such as Rwanda where repression hits all possible aspects of life, Uganda has this paradoxical night life, when people drop their mask and do what they want to do. While it’s not the purpose of the book per se, the gallery encompasses in that sense the fragile complexity of the country. “Right now dictatorship is going towards its end in Uganda. The president is pretty old and nobody knows what is going to happen - will his son take over, will he die, will there be a Coup? It’s unpredictable. The country could easily go back 20 years if something bad happens.  So, I also wanted this work to be prospective, and a document for later”, he explains. 

To see more from this series, visit Michele Sibiloni's PHmuseum profile

To stay up to date with the latest exhibition openings, artist opportunities, and photography news from around the world, follow the Photographic Museum of Humanity on and .