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Affirmative Art exhibit fosters self-discovery

Finding purpose in life continues to preoccupy many minds world over-regardless of gender, intellect and age. In fact, many people say they are working at jobs that do not provide them with fulfillment. The result of such experience is a person living an unhappy life that consequently affects his performance at work.

By Dominic Muwanguzi

Such experience is the inspiration of `Affirmative Art’ whose objective is to help the artist and public to realise a purposeful life. Motivated by his personal experience as an International humanitarian Aid worker in 2006, Eirik Trondsen found that unless people are in the driving seat towards their future, most well-intended aid projects will fail. With such conviction, the Norwegian social worker did which resulted in creation of Affirmative Art which, he says, is a creative tool to increase awareness about individual and community dreams and how to empower them through drawing.

The artwork is a reflection of one’s dream(s) on canvas painted in a combination of vibrant and monochromic colours that stimulate visual discourse between artist and public. The conceptual painting imbues elements of amateurish painting with crude bold lines on canvas and non-symmetry intangible objects like affirmative art symbol, mobile school and expressive personal statements overlapping each other. This chaotic display of images on canvas is evident in painting like Affirmative Art Empowers Dreams 2017 and East Africa Tour Dream 2016 that convey the message of possible self-realisation through the art movement and the probable idea of making the movement an itinerary project respectively.

The collaborative element is much appreciated and is visible in the art form. Each of the paintings on display within the gallery space of Makerere University gallery is painted by two or more artist as an emphasis to one of the core Affirmative Art steps:  “….through the triangle exercise an individual must identify who they’re, who their supporters are……”More so, such teamwork is symbolic of the idea of achieving one’s goal in life. You cannot achieve your dream in life single-handedly.

The teamwork concept has been replicated at Nagenda International Academy of Art and Design (NIAAD), located in Namulanda, Entebbe where the movement has established an Affirmative Art lab. The laboratory is essential in integrating the objectives of Affirmative Art into the art curriculum of the institution.  The most evident outcome of such experimentation at NIAAD is the activities of Justine Nanyondo a fashion designer tutor at the institute. Nanyondo’s career started as a young girl following the footsteps of her father who was a tailor. Although she graduated from the school of Fine Art and Industrial Design, specialising in fashion designing, unlike her colleagues who shifted their ambitions to something else, she pursued her childhood dream into fashion designing with the help of Affirmative Art. The result is a fashion show she put on at the Makerere Art gallery during the opening ceremony.

Beyond the confines of academic institutions like NIAAD where the art movement has set base and Makerere University where the art was showcased to engage the students and university community, Affirmative Art aims to be integrated in the corporate industry such that employers and employees alike benefit from its objectives.  Additionally, this is the type of art that can be used as a vehicle for increased art appreciation locally because of its obvious impact on one’s wellbeing.

The exhibition has been made possible by Nagenda International Academy of Art and Design. The exhibition is curated by Sika Foyer an Economist from New York city.


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