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Childhood hobbies became Nabisenke’s job

Teddy Nabisenke spent a big part of her childhood moving around the neighbourhood picking discarded items such as plastic straws and fabric to make herself bracelets and necklaces.

Nabisenke gradually discovered herself, pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Fine Arts (BIFA) at Makerere University.

Since graduating six years ago, Nabisenke has dedicated herself to visual art and has adopted a new style, enjoying success in it.

This weekend, Nabisenke will be holding her monthly art market, where she showcases all the works and art pieces for sale.

“I came up with the monthly art market idea over a year ago. So, every last weekend of the month, the pieces that I have been working on since my last market, are showcased and sold,” Nabisenke said.

Much of what is in the art market dubbed the Tsenke Art Market, are functional art pieces. Nabisenke delights herself in making items that people can use on a day-to-day basis.

In her market are jewellery pieces, vases and laptop bags – all with a unique art touch. Donald Wasswa, also a fine artist, said Nabisenke’s approach is a new phenomenon: “It is a different marketing strategy, where she has decided to put her works in people’s faces. Because she is doing a lot of jewellery, people are constantly reminded of how good they are, which is working.”

Dancing Cup bar and restaurant along Luthuli Avenue in Bugolobi, is where Nabisenke has staged her art markets for the last few months. And it is where the one this weekend from August 24 to 26 will be held.

It is a venue that attracts patrons both local and expatriate, a perfect mix for the artist.

“From this space, I have grown my market base, because the number of buyers has grown. But also, through the feedback I get, I have been able to improve on my output, because the customers tell you exactly what they want,” Nabisenke said.

Although Nabisenke has managed to make beautiful functional art pieces, it has been with simplicity. A number of the raw-materials she uses like cloth, are things people ordinarily throw away as waste.

For example, she collects glass bottles, which she cuts and turns into house decorations, or turns them into beautiful vases. At 29, Nabisenke still uses plastic, like she did when she was still a little girl, to make some of the jewellery on exhibition.

Beyond her sense of style and fashion, much of which brings out Africa’s best, Nabisenke is an embodiment of ‘gifted hands’ that the Tsenke market brings this weekend.


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