Uganda has one of the fastest-growing populations in the world, putting its natural resources under strain. While the government and nongovernmental organizations strive to implement policies and programs, local artists are using their work to promote environmental conservation.
KAMPALA, UGANDA – A gorilla with a furry coat stands in a thicket, next to a large tree. His big brown eyes pierce those who stare at him as he refuses to look away first.
And as the main subject of one of artist Taga Nuwagaba’s paintings, the gorilla always wins the staring contest. In his studio in Kampala, Uganda’s capital, Nuwagaba puts his finishing touches on another painting nearby.
Nuwagaba, 43, was born in Mbarara in southwestern Uganda. But these days he can be found in his bright and airy studio, wearing an apron and surrounded by an array of brushes and paint colors. Soft-spoken and passionate about his work, he keenly studies the object of his painting, a crested crane.
He also carries out his work in different locations that interest him, such as bustling cities, national parks, game reserves, sites where nature has not been disturbed and his home in Kyanja, one of Kampala’s suburbs. His work focuses on wildlife and human figures.
Although Nuwagaba is a trained professional in different forms of art, he is a self-taught watercolor artist and started art even before going to school. He says he believes that every child is an artist, although some children continue drawing long after others have lost interest in art. His childhood inspiration was his grandmother, Maria Goretti Burakuza, who was an abstract artist before she died in 1994.
“She never told a story without using her own specimen,” Nuwagaba says.
She often used the symbols of clouds to tell her stories. Nuwagaba says she used to pour paint onto a wall, allow it to take shape and then bring out something not visible to the noncritical eye.
But Nuwagaba says he thought abstract art was too ambiguous so he made a decision at an early age to concentrate on a form of art that was clearer. Still, he kept his grandmother’s penchant for using nature in art. He says he sold his first painting when he was 10.
His vivid paintings are easy to understand. His major thrust is conservation.
“We have a poor preservation culture,” he says. “I decided to use my skill as an avenue for conserving our environment.”
Environmental experts say that Uganda’s rapidly expanding population is putting pressure on the country’s natural resources and that more needs to be done to counteract the toll on the environment. The government and nongovernmental organizations, NGOs, have been implementing various programs, but government officials admit that the challenges are many and the budget is insufficient. Meanwhile, artists are inspiring their fellow citizens to do what they can to conserve the environment for future generations.
Uganda is endowed with many national parks, fresh water lakes, forests and game reserves. But the rapidly growing population – one of the fastest-growing in the world – has been increasingly placing pressure on the land and resources here. The projected 2011 midyear population is nearly 33 million, according to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics…Click to continue reading via Global Press
You can see some of the paintings by clicking: http://www.globalpressinstitute.org/global-news/africa/uganda/artists-promote-conservation-expanding-population-squeezes-uganda%E2%80%99s-resour#ixzz1W1hAhbLu