Friday, 2 October 2009

Ugandan dudes

Week three of being a working girl again, and I am slowly getting into my job. There are things that make me want to bang my head on the table in boredom - measuring bag handles - and tasks that are such good fun I can't believe I'm getting paid to do them.
One of the fun things is visiting lots of Ugandan artists and taking pictures of their work for potential buyers overseas. That's how I met Eria Sane (above), at his parents' house in Entebbe. He does big, exuberant, acrylic paintings and treats his subject matter with a lot of humour and playful irreverance. Eria himself is bright, ambitious and articulate. At 30, he has ten years of painting already behind him, and is still energetically churning them out.
"Ugandan artists don't make money because they're not very productive! They just wait for an exhibition or something. I am very productive," he tells me proudly. I ask him if he thinks the lack of productivity is a cultural thing. "You see, colonisation brought suits and ties and office jobs and made black people despise working with their hands! Now we have all these people in offices, but what are they actually doing? We are not producing food anymore!" As he continues his productivity rant, I tell him he reminds me of Margaret Thatcher which makes him laugh.
What is Eria's favourite subject matter? "I'm a humanist. I like things like justice, fairness...I like being a social critic. I like being fluid. I am painting a lot of forests right now, because it's so important that in Uganda we keep our forests, our swamps." (De-forestation is a big problem here.) I ask him his plans for the future. "I want my art to go worldwide. I want to make a name for myself. I want to market our culture, who we are."

1 comment:

Rebecca said...

Ooooh, very nice. Hope you find him lots of customers!