Uganda’s unsung ambassador
Jesus’ prophecy that “A prophet is not without honour except in his own town, ” may be a perfect description of Nuwa Wamala Nnyanzi.
Nyanzi is probably Uganda’s best known visual artist thanks to his art creations. Sadly though, his star shines brighter abroad than at home thanks to his ‘hands of gold’ creations, that grace the walls of many people around the globe.
While he acknowledges that he sells more pieces to Ugandans than foreigners, Nnyanzi notes that he has earned more official recognition internationally than at home. Considering the reach and promotional value of his work, the absence of his name among Uganda’s heroes, puts to shame those who nominate individuals for the awards.
He confirms to The Sunrise: “I am more known in Uganda informally, but more officially internationally. I get a lot of invitations and assignments abroad than here.”
Nyanzi’s most recent trip to the Italian City of Milan to participate in the Expo Milano, however proved that his works are more than just a personal enterprise but rather a national undertaking.
Aside from the fact that his trip to Milan had the support of the Ministry of Tourism and Trade, Nnyanzi’s colourful works, many people acknowledge, promote Uganda’s cultural diversity, beautiful flora and fauna than most national tourism promotion agencies could perhaps ever do.
While in Milan, Nnyanzi used the power of social media, to keep his Facebook fans updated on how he progressed with a live Batik painting of Ndere Troupe dancers who kept guests entertained at Uganda’s national day.
The art piece, a portrayal of cultural fusion depicts women dressed in traditional garb dancing to the rythms of African drum. And beside them, a Crested Crane perhaps to remind his visitors about Uganda’s natural beauty.
Nnyanzi works on several media, although he is most popularly known for his Batik.
Blame it perhaps on poverty and a general lack of awareness and appreciation of art, Nnyanzi spends a considerable amount of his time participating in international art festivals and exhibitions.
Fortunately, Nnyanzi is contented with his achievements.