I spent the weekend with Fred Mutebi and the team of art educators from Dallas out in the villages. These few days in Kasota and Buyoga villages located in the Masaka district are to conduct exhibitions and workshops. It’s a part of the “Renewing Material” barkcloth project that has brought Lesli Robertson,Amanda Batson, and Rebecca Schaefer to Uganda as a part of their collabortion with Fred Mutebi and Let Art Talk.
The exhibitions focused on the unique Uganda barkcloth material. Products made from barkcloth were on display from local artisans and professional artists from Uganda. There were also images of a variety of products that have been created by designers and researchers in other countries. Students from the local primary schools also had the opportunity to have their fantastic barkcloth creations on display for everyone to see. There was a very strong and powerful message in their creations to help preserve the environment and be responsible citizens.
It was great to see friends that I have met over the years and make lots of new friends. I tend to wander off and spend time with the children. It’s definitly one of the things that I love about visiting Uganda. The country has a young population. Statistics show that 50% of Uganda’s populaton is under 15 years old. I want to be able to connect with the youth here as they develop into the future leaders of the country.
I entertained the children with my “separated thumb” and “straw in the ear and out of the mouth” illusions. It always generates a large crowd as they watch muzungu muwanvu mulalu (the crazy tall white person) perform seemingly impossible acts. After several repeated demonstrations and lots of laughter, I always reveal to everyone gathered how the tricks are really done. My message to them is to stay in school and get an education so that they don’t fall for people’s tricks in life. They will be less likely to be fooled by those who would want to manipulate and exploit them if they gain knowledge and wisdom . It’s a fun way to communicate an important message.
Fred Mutebi has done an incredible job in mobilizing his rural community. The team of art educators has formed a great partnership with him. It’s a perfect example of the power of effective partnerships.
Blessed by Africa,