Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Uganda's Fred Mutebi, A Seasoned Artist

Fred Mutebi is a Multi-color woodcut artist who uses his art to celebrate the natural beauty of Uganda, his homeland.

Actor Forest Whitaker enjoys the woodcut art pieces given to him by Michael Kirkpatrick, participant of the Let Art Talk organization in Uganda. One of the two art pieces was made by a student from the Hope North school whom Whitaker met during a visit there.

Using a vibrant array of colors, Fred Mutebi creates woodcut prints that depict stories about critical social events in Uganda or that portray images indigenous to the Ugandan environment. The works are made even more authentic by his use of a special technique called the “progressive reduction method”, which prevents the production of more than ten woodcut prints of the same composition.

Uganda: Fred Mutebi Catalog of Artwork

His development as an artist and as a teacher has grown to a level where he believes that it is paramount that art should be used to inform people about global challenges. He strongly feels that it is extremely important to reach as many ordinary people as possible with art that relates with their issues, especially the youth of Uganda.

He graduated from the School of Industrial and Fine Arts at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda in 1993.

As a Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence at Christian Brothers University in Memphis, Fred Mutebi played an integral role in imparting an appreciation for this particular art form and a passion for the country called “the pearl of Africa”. From lecturing on the history of art in Uganda and the history of printmaking, to conducting woodcut printmaking workshops for art students, Mutebi captivates his audiences.

In addition to Christian Brothers University, Mutebi has also conducted workshops and lectures at the University of Colorado, Vanderbilt University, Fisk University, Memphis College of Art, Indiana University - Purdue University of Fort Wayne, Manatee Community College, Marian College, Dallas Baptist University, and the University of North Texas. He has also been the featured artist at the World Bank gallery in Washington DC.

Fred Mutebi created an innovative and unique way to address important issues facing Uganda and the global community by launching Let Art Talk in 2007. The objective of the organization is to educate the diverse segments of Ugandan society by using common terms and creative techniques in order to encourage constructive change for a positive future. The mission is to use art as an educational tool to empower people and communities at the grassroots level. The goal is to transform lives by strengthening leadership, advocating reconciliation, and imparting problem solving skills

Uganda: Let Art Talk Brochure

Fred has developed a method of communicating to communities in Uganda called Talking murals™. Important topics are discussed in a public forum and then translated into the words of the local language with corresponding themed pictures. Community members participate in the creation of the mural with their ideas, words, and artistic contributions. Talking murals™ have been created to commemorate many special events like The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, World Population Day, Ugandan Independence Day, and World AIDS Day.

Fred Mutebi has been mentioned is several publications, for example, US Embassy in Uganda The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State, The Independent, UNAA Times Online, All Africa and African Greetings

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