“It is our belief that young people have the interest to explore areas of creativity. They have an interest in doing something that they are passionate about but lack a platform. We believe creativity is nurtured at a tender age, so in 2016 we put up a platform that empowers children from the age of six,” Emmanuel Kalule Ssekitto, the founder of Faces Up Uganda, an organisation established to mentor young people from underserved communities, said.
The organisation was chosen to be a recipient of 10 per cent of sales from ‘Ebirungi- An Ode to the creators of magical things’ art exhibition by 22 artists.
The two-week event happened at Latitude 0 Hotel in Makindye, supported by Alliance Francaise de Kampala and it brought together diverse and unique artists whose works make an impression across artistic multimedia genres.
Among artistes whose work was showcased, included painter Ronald Kerango, sculptor and drawer Donald Wasswa, Derrick Basirike who creates using banana fibre, painter Melissa Buzabo, photographer Magezi Atwooki, Daniel Atenyi who artistically uses charcoal as well as drawer, painter and digital artist Alex Brighton.
“For so long, it has been the international community supporting art. The art produced in this country is ending up in Europe and America. Our children and grandchildren will pay dearly. When I was doing my Ph.D, I had to buy and access Ugandan art from Germany in thousands of dollars.
We need to start collecting art for our country. We need to put our government to task to support art through the Ministry of Gender,” said Prof. Mary Kizito, director of the Nagenda International Academy of Art and Design.
But that is not to say Uganda does not have some local art buyers and collectors.
“I like art that leaves me guessing, trying to interpret what the artist was thinking about and what the conditions were, what they had in their creativity and the message they were communicating… art that makes you ask questions,” said art collector James Byaruhanga, the managing director of National Social Security Fund, who was one of the chief guests at the launch of the art exhibition.
In her speech, Jacqueline Asiimwe, a lawyer and CEO CivSource Africa which supports the Kuonyesha Art Fund, underlined the importance of art in different spheres of life and the need to support the art and women in the sector.
Singer Afrie, a nominee in the All Africa Music Awards, entertained guests with a live performance of her Afro-fusion music sounds, as guests went around the hotel facility to appreciate and ponder on which art piece they wanted to buy.
And as American poet, Maya Angelou would have it, “When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.”