Ugandan artist shares Batik with Coweta students
by Celia Shortt
Art can be something different for every person, but for Ugandan artist Nuwa Wamala-Nnyanzi, art is his way of sharing experiences and life truths.
Nnyanzi is a self-taught, internationally-known artist specializing in Batik painting. He started painting in 1978 while he was exiled in Nairobi, Kenya.
Recently, Nnyanzi presented some of his art and gave a lesson at the Centre for Performing and Visual Arts in Newnan. In attendance were art students from Newnan High School, Arnall Middle School and Smokey Road Middle School. Batik is a form of painting that involves using dyes and wax. Nnyanzi created a style in which more than one dye can be applied, allowing for various tones and shades of color.
“When I first tried making Batiks, I failed miserably,” Nnyanzi said. “In Batik, every mistake you make costs you. If you want to make a Batik, you have to plan before you start. You imagine and see the outcome before you actually start on it.” Nnyanzi shared with the students that those same techniques and principles can be applied to life.
“Batik is like life,” he said. “What decision you make today will impact your life and probably determine who you are and what you will become. You need to think and plan.”
Nnyanzi has traveled all over the world and makes yearly trips to the United States. His exhibits and presentations have been held in Africa, Europe, North America, Japan and Australia. He has hosted many international dignitaries at his studio/gallery in Kampala, Uganda, including the late Ron Brown, who served as the Secretary of Commerce for the United States.
In Uganda, Nnyanzi is the Minister of Arts and Social Welfare for the Buganda Kingdom. He is the chairman of the Uganda Artists’ Association, director of the Uganda National Arts and Crafts Village, the president-elect for the Rotary Club of Kampala West, and the chairman for the Kampala Central Branch.
He is married with two children and ascribes his talent and success to the grace of God.