Tuesday December 12 2017

12-year-old tending to her blind mother

Kirabo draws her inspiration from her

Kirabo draws her inspiration from her surrounding and what she is going through. PHOTOS BY GODFREY LUGAAJU 

By Godfrey Lugaaju

Briefly tell us about yourself?
My name is Amazing Grace Kirabo, a 12- year-old and the first born in a family of three. I am in Primary Seven vacation and have been at Victorious Primary School, Divine Campus. I do fine art, painting and make beaded bracelets and necklaces. I am also an author who draws inspiration from my art pieces.

How is your typical day like?
I wake up at 5am to not only prepare myself and my siblings but also my mother. I spend the entire day moving with my mother to different places in search of market for our art pieces. We go back home late in the evening at 7pm and I help dad to prepare food.

When did you start doing art?
I do not remember the age at which I started but it was at a tender age. I recall drawing my simple pictures in my art book and showing it off to visitors who always told my mother that my drawings were nice. I loved art so it took me less time to learn the basics and within no time, I was already feeling my way on the canvass. I think it also runs through our blood because my mother is an artist.

What do you love the most about art?
Art is like music, you express your feelings in it. When you feel depressed, you can paint wilting flowers and flying butterflies and balloons when you are happy.

What have you benefited from this venture?

Out of the sales from people who come and buy my paintings, I have at times managed to raise my school fees. With the experience I have acquired, my mother entrusted me with documenting and records department of the gallery. I also handle the sales and manage whatever has to be improved in the gallery.

How have you been balancing art with classwork?
While at school, I always dedicated weekends to my art and gallery work and weekdays for classwork.

What do you want to be when you grow up?
I want to be a lawyer and Uganda’s first female president.

And the fine art?
I intend to keep doing it as my part-time work because it relieves my stress. I want to get three PhDs in art, history and law.

You recently launched a book ‘Nurtured by a Blind Mother and the Courage to Believe,’ tell us about it?
I basically wrote about my inspiration. My mother does the best to take care of us despite being blind. This book shows my lifestyle and how I felt when I realised my mother was visually impaired and how I coped. The idea was birthed when one student gave me a four-quire book for my art piece because she did not have money to pay for it. I decided to start writing my life experience in the book until I get someone to help me publish it and I thank God I finally did.

Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years?
I see a politician and lawyer in me. I will have advanced to the international level and my art pieces will be known worldwide.

You talk passionately about politics, have you ever been in any political position?
I have been a class monitor, sanitary prefect and health prefect in upper primary.

What would you tell God if you met Him?
I would ask Him to open mum’s eyes; I know she would have lived a much better life than this if she had her sight.

What challenges have you encountered so far?
The fact that mum is blind; I do not get to live a life of normal children. I have lived a life of a grown up all through my childhood. I am the mother to my two siblings and I am the caretaker of my mother. Painting materials are also expensive and I have to go through humiliations especially at school when I am sent out of class for defaulting fees.