Entrepreneurial artist tackles issues you should care about
Kampala, Uganda | Dominic Muwanguzi | Boda-boda; the motorcycle taxi found all over Uganda, is now internationally renowned after being added to the newest edition of the Oxford English dictionary. It plays a vital role in the local transport industry with many passengers opting for its pocket-friendly rates and ability to cut through traffic on jammed roads and maneuver to places that not accessible by car.
Its social-economic contribution can be seen in several statistics; it employs a large chunk of youth, enabling them to support their families and invest in other trades.
It is this social- economic contribution which is the springboard of the `Migugu series’ by artist Collin Sekajugo. He paints monochromic images of overloaded boda-bodas as a metaphor for the burden of social-economic struggles of day-to –day urban life. It may also be an allusion to challenges to safety on the road that boda-bodas pose. The road safety link is big because Sekajugo has previously showcased helmets; another symbol of road safety.
Statistics of road accidents involving boda-bodas are scarily huge. The artist has previously integrated the helmet in his other exhibits like ‘If wishes were horses’ and ‘The Fist of Stella Nyanzi’ as a secondary symbol for social security.
The `Migungu series’ conjures up the idea of irresponsibility for personal safety because the cyclist and passenger do not care to wear a helmet and the loads being carried are too big for the bikes to safely traverse narrow crowded roads. Such sights are common on many roads even though traffic laws prohibit them and civil society frequently runs campaigns promoting use of helmets for cyclists and boda-boda passengers.
Sekajugo appears to be responding to critical social phenomenon as is his style. He is a social entrepreneur, adept in linking the public with art through interrogating issues that they can identify with. It is his way of creating increased appreciation of art.
Collin Sekajugo can be found on www.collinsekajugo.org and is founder of Ivuka Arts studios Rwanda.