Kashushu excels at debut solo art event

Natasha Karungi

What you need to know:

  • Kashushu studied fine art in high school and even though she could not pursue it at university, she still remained an artist. She abandoned her Bachelor of Commerce Degree at university in her second year to pursue a career in art. 

Natasha Karungi, alias Kashushu, a self-taught Ugandan illustrator, who uses shapes and colours to tell vibrant human interest stories, held her debut solo art exhibition titled “Okushururirwa: Revelations In Colour” from November 18 to December at the Sankara Pan African Library and Café in Bugolobi, Kampala.
Kashushu, a visual artist, who uses lines, patterns, shapes, fabrics and colour to express herself, displayed 50 of her latest art works. 
The centre piece titled: “The Most High” shows a woman dressed in a face mask with stained art in the background. 

“[It] is a story that I have retold using this woman that isn’t a saint per se but she is a deity. She is a representation of women in power,” Kashushu explained, adding: “Growing up in church, all the deities I was introduced to were all male and that made me question that a lot since I wanted to see women being represented in such high places.” 
“The Yellow Jeans” depict a woman dressed in a pair of colourful jeans while holding a newspaper in front of her face with the cosmos in the background. 
“I was trying to create a cosmic world and that is why there is a cosmic system in the background,” she said of the piece, adding: “This piece is futuristic as seen through the colours pinks, blues and yellows. The focus of this art work is the jeans because I am a fashion designer so I try to channel my fashionable energy through my work,” she said.

“The Creative Oil” shows a hand scooping oil from a bottle with a scoping tube, with Kashushu saying it pays homage to “the oil that fuels creatives.”
“Miss Cupid” is a re-narration of the Greek mythology about “Cupid”—the god of love; only in this case she is an Afro-futuristic version.
Among her other works on display is “Till We Touch The Stars,” “In My Element,” “Unbreakable Veil,” and “The Dancer.” 
As a visual artist Kashushu uses lines, patterns, shapes, fabrics and colour to express herself. She uses digital mediums such as Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, LightRoom and ProCreate for her works. This was her first solo exhibition.

A lot of her style is influenced by movements in art history such as cubism, art nouveau and mosaics, music, dance, poetry, African literature, mythology and social movements. 
“I use a lot of African patterns and checkered patterns because they symbolise objects and information,” she told Sunday Monitor, adding: “My works convey a lot of radicalism through changing and questioning the norms, elements of pop culture and representation of daily experiences.”
As we head into 2023, Kashushu expects digital art—boosted by NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens)—to put its best foot forward. Most of her buyers nowadays are “art enthusiasts and people in the NFT space.” 

Kashushu studied fine art in high school and even though she could not pursue it at university, she still remained an artist. She abandoned her Bachelor of Commerce Degree at university in her second year to pursue a career in art. 
She started out with traditional art where she majored in portraits and landscape using mediums such as watercolour, oil pastels, chalk pastels, charcoal and acrylic paint. She later majored in digital art. 
Kashushu hopes to use her art in future to inspire younger artists, especially in Uganda, to believe that art is a respectable and valid career.

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