Artolution and CHIME FOR CHANGE travel to Nakuwadde, Uganda to team up with Action in Africa to paint a mural in their Community Center. The week-long project aimed to empower local children to understand that their passions and desires can become their life and career. The art project was a ‘response canvas mural conversation’ started by 200 children in New York, then sent to Uganda, and used as a basis and inspiration for making a response mural. The project honors a student from the Nakuwadde community who passed away from a car accident, and with his face painted smiling inside the design, the result engages this community in a creative experience to promote healing, resilience and positive social change. This video documents how the project was created and how artwork is helping to inspire and unite local children to pursue their passions for the future.
Action in Africa Community Center
Jobray, Graffiti Artist and Teacher: There are a lot of kids that grow up and they don’t know what direction they are to take because they are kind of you know, like ignored. The main reason why I teach art is I reflect back to what barriers and boundaries I’ve crossed to decide to do what I’m doing right now, to teach.
Sarah Nininger, Executive Director of Action in Africa: Action in Africa teamed up with Artolution and CHIME FOR CHANGE for this week-long project at our community center. What better an opportunity than to team up with professional artists from Kampala to show these kids that whatever your passions are and whatever your desires are that it can become your life and your career.
Max Frieder, Co-Founder and Co-Director of Artolution: I have a magical drum and it transports all of us to a special world. This week we are creating a response canvas mural conversation where it was started by 200 children in New York and was sent here where it was glued up on a wall and it was the basis for making a response mural. It is essential to be able to build teams of local artists who are half-men, half-women, who are role models of what’s possible when creating public arts pieces around the world. The purpose of this project was to be able to open the eyes and the hearts and the minds of children in New York and children in Uganda to be able to have an exchange where it’s able to transform this entire community.
Matt Kayem, Graffiti Artist: This project is pretty unique. The fact that we are letting these kids paint on their walls and we the artists, we are mostly at the back guiding them, watching them. When they walk inside this place they feel a sense of belonging, they feel like they are really connected to this; it’s really their own.
Lawrence Bukenya, Student: We don’t have things like this at school. Kids, women, mothers, dads, they have come here, engaged in the programs like the painting. I really love what I’m doing here.
Carolyn Nakazibwe, Artist & Student: I believe that art opens up their hearts, their minds. Before we start the artwork, we first give them time to relax, to think about their thoughts, think about their dreams, think about everything they want to be in the future.
Max: Everybody close their eyes and imagine what together, what kind of a world we want to build.
[Time lapse of mural being created]
Carolyn: I believe that this project tis changing the community of Nakuwadde and the children themselves, and even the teachers because the kids are learning from us, we are learning from them.
Jobray This moment is a magical moment for these kids. It’s the love they express on their face that for me, tells a lot.
Sarah: The start of this project was in honor of a student that we lost a few months ago in a car accident. And to have kids in New York hear about that story and want that to be the focus and the starting point of this project, was so meaningful for me on a personal level, but his family and our staff and the community here, so when you walk in our gate, that’s the first piece you see. You see his shining face, and it’s just a great memorial for us as a community and a part of the healing process.
Damulira Musa, Student: Art has power to transform something into greatness. When you enter into Action in Africa, you feel like your visions and your dreams will come true. When you enter the gate, you feel like there is light in this community.
Nassanga Brenda, Director of Center Operations at Action in Africa: I have started with my husband to look at our children and see what they really love. I really felt so good when I saw one of my kids, Katrina, painting with some of the artists from Kampala.
Janet Kemigisa, Community Member at Action in Africa: Kids that come here, share a meal together and do art together, dance together, do drama together, that creates togetherness. Even when they leave our gates, you find they are creating friendships out there, bringing more kids, bringing more adults. Our programs, everything that we do here, whether art, whether dancing, whether drama, it touches everyone through and through and creates more and more friendship and we are a family.
Children: We are the future!