Monday , September 16 2019
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ARTS: Fighting child abuse

Hope exhibition tackles horror of child ritual murders

Kampala, Uganda | DOMINIC MUWANGUZI | Child trafficking and mutilation is reported in the local press almost daily. This violation of children rights is often condemned, especially by civil society groups. But many people still do not understand what causes child abuse and what can be done to stop it.

Providing that awareness to the public is the inspiration for `Hope’, an ongoing art exhibition at Makerere Art Gallery in Kampala that seeks to expose the evil and cause critical discussion. HOPE features paintings, drawings, and photography (prints), most of which is figurative, that leave many viewers emotionally arrested.

In one drawing, a child with a sullen look on his face, caged in a net, and put under lock with a hand on the far right of the paint stretched out with a key in an attempt to unlock it. At once it conjures the notion of child trafficking that deprives innocent and vulnerable children of their identity.

The printed images (photography) of mutilated bodies of the children and the surly subjects in Edward Waddimba’s semi-abstract series of paintings are emotionally charged. Waddimba borrows a lot from Fabian Mpangi’s style and technique of monochromes and cubist style of breaking images on canvas and re-arranging them.

The curator of the exhibit, Phillip Balimunsi, revealed that it was an emotive journey to put together the exhibit. “I had to go to the courts of law in Mubende to have a first-hand experience of child sacrifice. The audience today sees images of mutilated bodies but l saw real images of bones that were left over after a child was sacrificed.”

The artists also delve more into the subject matter through interaction with relatives of the victims.

Remarkably, all the artworks on display were commissioned by a Christian initiative, Kyampisi Childcare Ministries that has done several series of campaigns to fight child sacrifice. The artists produced a timelessness exhibit, showcasing masterly of perspective, tonality, light, and depth.

The Hope exhibit is part of conversations designed to use art to engage, interpret, and interrogate the horrors of child abuse. It shows artists responding to critical issues that affect the community they inhabit and is an awareness campaign for the public to act as a collective to fight the inhuman deeds.

The exhibition was supported by Kyampisi Childcare Ministries and Uganda Visual Artists and Designers Association (UVADA).

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