Fred Mutebi [Uganda]
[Image credit: Rhythms of Grace – Fred Mutebi]
Using a flat surface of wood and engraving or cutting out lines, Ugandan master woodcutter and printmaker, Fred Mutebi tells stories that document important events in Ugandan life, as well as going out into the community to observe and record day-to-day life. Fred’s colourful, intricate woodcarvings are laden with parables and metaphors and subject matter also extends to wider social issues having an effect across the African continent. Fred began printmaking whilst a student at Makerere University in Uganda between 1990-1993 and so began a career experimenting with block printing. It was during this time the Fred noticed that there was a gap for practicing Ugandan printmakers and sought to fill the gap, and is today an internationally acclaimed artist, whose work has been included in exhibitions in Africa, Europe, Asia, and America.
[Image credits: top, Urban Madonna; centre, One Woman, One Man;
bottom, New York Underground in Winter – Fred Mutebi]
A social activist and environmentalist, Fred sees art as a vehicle to ‘educate the present and the future’ generations, by opening up dialogue around the issues that affect our lives. Through his, work Fred aims to elicit an emotional connection with the viewer, as well as offering a source of inspiration for example helping towards ways of overcoming the problems that one may be struggling with. Using art as a tool to empower people to explore and talk about the challenges facing their communities, Fred set up Let Art Talk, an organisation that helps open up the dialogue on issues such as poverty, child labour, and gender by engaging the mainly young people he works with in interpreting the subjects through art. Fred is also aware of the need to involve the elders within the communities, getting them to share their wisdom and experiences, and together work towards affecting positive change. Committed to the success of the organisation fifty percent of the proceeds from a sale of Fred’s artwork go into the Let Art Talk organisation to help set up a programme, buy materials or fund a trip.
[Image credit: Women Activists – Fred Mutebi]
Recognising how art can connect and impact people, regardless of who you are, Fred is continually seeking ways to bridge the gap between the underprivileged and the affluent.
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