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Artists come together to conserve wildlife 

Some people use art to make statements, mobilise for change or advocate for a major cause.

Later this month, artists Taga Nuwagaba from Uganda and Barbara Hollweg, a photographer from USA, will be showcasing wildlife art with the aim of supporting the conservation of wildlife and a bias for chimpanzees.

For a period of three days, between May 26 and 28, these artists will be showcasing at the Lion Centre, Sheraton Kampala hotel, in a drive to fundraise for the proposed medical facility for the rescued chimpanzees at Chimpanzee Trust, Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary.

Taga has been around the art circles for a long time and his ability to tell the wildlife story can’t be doubted. Mid last year he released a booklet where he documented the different tribal totems using painting. 

He has worked with many conservation and wildlife groups in Uganda such as the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre, Ecotrust, African Wildlife Foundation and the Jane Goodall Institute at Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary.

According to Ugandamasters.com, his wildlife works on primates and moths have appeared on Ugandan postage stamps. 

In the past, Taga has been commissioned to do art depicting 35 of Uganda’s favourite bird species to represent Uganda at international bird fairs abroad.

He has done a lot of conservation work, from culture to wildlife, though he notes that the presentation at the Jewels of the Jungle will be different, since it will be more relaxed, with features of abstract art.

Hollweg, on the other hand, has been documenting wildlife in Uganda and other African countries. The duo will then receive artistic support from Nuwa Wamala Nyanzi and Medina the chimp.

Nyanzi is a self-taught artist who made it to the international scene because of the special touch he brings to batik painting. Lilly Ajarova, Ngamba sanctuary’s executive director, says in a normal habitat, chimpanzees treat themselves when they fall sick; however, Ngamba sanctuary isn’t their normal habitat since most of the primates were simply transferred there after being rescued, thus the need for a sickbay.

The project is a fundraising exhibition that forms part of a collaborative creative process between the Chimpanzee Trust (Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary) with artists and Robinah Nansubuga, an independent curator.

Nansubuga says the exhibition should be a lesson for people in relating to the different concepts of wildlife. For instance, she notes, chimpanzees relate a lot to humanity, thus saving them would be saving something that really matters to humanity, and Uganda as a country.


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