Emmanuel Ssekitto Kalule

Uganda - Painting

Emmanuel Ssekitto Kalule

Emmanuel Ssekitto Kalule

  • AGE : 26
  • COUNTRY of residence : Uganda
  • CITY : Kampala
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The artist

A few words about your artistic journey

Through my paintings, I fuse figurative with abstracted backgrounds in the brilliancy of colors. Because colors play a significant role in the way we see and perceive things - I explore and dive deeper beneath the normal primary colors as well as seek to broaden the conversation around children representation.

How long have you been an artist ?

I have 7 years exprience as an artist and begun practicing art during my senior six vacation in 2012.

Why did you apply for this grant ? How will the grant support you ?

- Enable me procure more food supplies so that I can use my time in the lockdown to focus entirely on my practice ;
- To buy more art materials to further my practice ;
- Cover internet costs – thus be able to share the outcomes of the residnecy on the internet.

What are your concrete artistic objectives after this residency ?

- To make more 10 artworks in line with the subject matter of this project ;
- Put up my first solo exhibition by 2021 ;
- Attend an art residence out of Uganda ;
- Continue working with children via my organisation.

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His residency

What did you achieve during this creative residency ? What is the result (created work) ?

I Produced four paintings (100cm X 75cm) with oil and acrylics on canvas. It was possible thanks to positive interactions from the children among my community, Lugala, the Lubya Parish, to showcase the lockdown with their interactions. The children modeled for these paintings.

I ensure a social media presence about my home residency to share the process and updates about the progress of my works. I was able to introduce to my old and new online audience my progress. I developed an online exhibition of this artwork ; this was organized for a week and reached 3815 people and got 874 likes on Instagram as well 1500 impressions on Facebook. I was also able to build a new audience. As a result, I was able to connect with two new prospective collectors who are now interested in my artistic journey.

How do you think these activities contribute to a reflection on today’s world, in relation to the COVID-19 crisis, and/or on the shaping of the future ?

The children I painted were remarkably happy to see their faces on canvas, and this made them feel exceptional and celebrated. Not every day does an artist decide to portrait children without commission, but I felt the need to do so because of these uncertain times, need us to celebrate all the little positive things around us, and as an artist, I found children as one of them.

My body of works for the residency demonstrates children’s interactions and lockdown memories within my community of Lugala, Lubya parish, a small suburb away from Kampala in the Rubaga Division. The artworks depict how children spent their time during the lockdown.

The pandemic has continued to twist life upside down. It is no longer safe for children to play or interact in large groups as it was previously before COVID-19. Even in this current new world, children remain 2 optimistic and happy. These smiles are what I captured and reflected in my artworks with a hope to inspire more optimism even in the times of adversity. I believe this can be a new form of hope for the world to reflect and learn.

How did you feel during the residency ? And at the end of it ?

First and foremost, I felt special to receive this grant based on how competitive the application process was. Secondly, during the residency, I felt motivated and enabled to accord much time for my practice as an artist.

At the start of the lockdown, I was not sure whether I would have access to enough art materials that would enable me to continue practicing. However, with the reception of the CIL grant, I was able to obtain all the materials I needed, and this gave security to produce the artworks as I imagined. I also got the opportunity to try out an entirely new style of painting with the background in my artworks during the residency. I decided to use plain colors in the framework to create and reflect the mood of the lockdown.
After witnessing the implication this had on my practice, I decided to remove myself from the COVID-19 news consumption. I also reminded myself that I was doing something about addressing COVID-19 through my artwork by sharing positivity from the children. Then I felt fulfilled as an artist that I was painting more smiles on the faces of children that were involved in this project. It felt rewarding and fulfilling to see other people happy because of my actions. I decided to continue producing more works inspired by this project and see how far it will reach. Maybe these artworks will end up hanging on the walls of one of the galleries here in Uganda.

His artwork

At the Parking Lot

Emmanuel Ssekitto Kalule - At the parking lot

Everything Else Can Wait

Emmanuel Ssekitto Kalule - Everything else can wait

The Queen Herself

Emmanuel Ssekitto Kalule - The queen herself

The Transporter

Emmanuel Ssekitto Kalule - The transporter