Using art to halt climate change

Kiwanuka of Jabulani Arts Fort Portal interpreting the message on the art piece about climate change. Photo by Geoffrey Mutegeki Araali.

What you need to know:

Artists have the power to sway human thought through their work, so they are using this to reach out for lasting change.

With climate becoming a big phenomenal problem world over, mitigations to curb it by all means have come up.

The latest in Kabarole District is the use of art work to communicate the messages to the communities.

During the Fort Portal Annual Street Art exhibition organised by Kabarole Research and Resource Center (KRC) in Fort Portal Town on December 13, art exhibitors had pictures and photos showing the effects of climate change.

One of the artists, Sadat Kiwanuka of Jabulani Arts Fort Portal, says the art pieces were an attempt to find a lasting solution to climate change.

“It is easy to communicate something visually because people can easily interpret pictures. So I think with art pieces on climate change, we can drive the messages and people to change,” explains Kiwanuka.

He says as artists they have to put this message out using the means they can because they are also affected by climate change in their work and daily life.

We are all in this together
“Climate change affects our work so much. For example, we have to travel to Kyenjojo and Kasese, long disances away, to get clay, yet we used to get it from here. We are humans and the effects are on us. So we have to communicate to the people using these means to save the environment for us all to live well,” Kiwanuka said

He adds: “Everything we use is from the environment, if we don’t have it, art will not be there”

He says the main piece was portraying bush burning and how it leads to drying of water sources and finally misery to the people.

The main piece was about a child who was crying due hunger after a long drought caused by climate change.

“Pictures tell a lot, I think people who look at them will not act the same when they go back home after the exhibition,” Kiwanuka said

Kiwanuka realised his art talent in 2006 during his Senior Six vacations and has not looked back. In 2008 together with Samuel Bamya and Sowedi Kiwanuka they formed Jabulani where he works as Creative Designer.

The director KRC, Mr Julius Mwanga, noted that climate change can be reversed if the community heed messages about protecting the environment.

“We can reverse climate change if we take heed to calls of conservation, this exhibition is aimed at informing everyone about climate change since people like pictures which could help raise awareness,” Mwanga said

Godfrey Ruyonga, the Kabarole District Environment Officer urged the masses to protect the environment for the benefit of their grandchildren.

“By destroying the environment we are digging our own grave which has to stop. Floods will continue killing us, drought, hunger and all the negative effects will affect us. Let’s keep the environment for our grandchildren to live well” Ruyonga said

The artist encouraged Ugandans to identify what they can do as individuals to curb climate change than to wait for government of NGO’s.

He called for planting of more trees despite the small pieces of land.

According to Kiwanuka, the art pieces are priced depending on the theme and size but normally are sold for between Shs100, 000 and Shs200,000 and the turn up increased on the second day.

“The turn up is not bad, we have made contacts and being the first time I think we have made a big step” Kiwanuka said.

The theme was “ Using art to communicate on climate change in the community.”