By Stephen Ssenkaaba
Uganda will shine its artistic flag high when Nuwa Wamala Nnyanzi, one of the leading batik artists here represents the country at the international Maiden Tower Festival in Azerbaijan in an art exhibition that will bring together some of the leading painters and designers.
The International Maiden Tower art festival is an annual show organized by Heydar Aliyev Foundation- a charitable foundation headed by Azerbaijan's First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva.
The exhibition aims at promoting the Maiden Tower- one of Azerbaijan’s leading tourist attractions and a NESCO’s World Heritage. The festival brings famous artists from different countries who spend a couple of days working on selected art projects in the Azerbaijani capital Baku. The 2014 festival will run from Tuesday May 6th until May 10th.
Over a period of four days, the artists will decorate little models of the tower with national ornaments while including several aspects of their own style and cultural experiences in a move that aims at integrating several world cultures and traditions with Azerbaijani’s.
Artists, Nnyanzi said will choose to work with either of two models: The Maiden Tower or a Gazelle, which has been selected to raise awareness about this endangered species.
While the artists are presented with all materials needed to execute their work, they will freely select the motifs and details to decorate the models.
Nnyanzi has chosen to decorate a Gazelle.
“I have special memories of a gazelle. The very first bicycle I owned was called a Gazelle. My mother bought it for me to transport me to school. I loved it so much. Secondly, my mum comes from the bushbuck (Engabi) clan which in the same family as the Gazelle.”
While he has not made any final decisions on the kinds of designs to include on his model, Nnyanzi is intent on continuing to use this chance to showcase the great artistic potential in Uganda.
In keeping with his guiding principle of producing ‘art that touches the heart’, this experienced but self-taught artist promises a colourful artwork that will reflect the vibrancy of Ugandan culture coupled with his recently discovered new style of meticulously angled motifs laced with vibrant yellows, blues, reds and other happy colours.
Above all, Nnyanzi feels that this art exhibit is a golden opportunity for him to fly Uganda’s cultural flag high.
“I am looking forward to exploring new frontiers and use my art to create more awareness about Uganda’ rich cultural heritage. This is a continuation of my crusade to use my art to contribute to the emerging global culture,” he said.
More than 40 artists from different countries have taken part in this festival. Unique works by artists are demonstrated in different counties the world over.