RSS Feed (xml)

Powered By

Skin Design:
Free Blogger Skins

Powered by Blogger

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Lutalo’s modern art of exaggeration


As a child, Juma Lutalo, 23, born in Masaka town, was preoccupied by nothing else but drawing simple objects like houses, cars and boys playing with girls. But it was in August 2007 that the real action started. An art exhibition by renowned Ugandan painter Taga Nuwagaba inspired Lutalo to develop the real art in him.

“As a self-taught artist, I spent restless days and sleepless nights trying to master the movement of the brush and blending of colours,” he says. “This was however not easy because of the expensive art materials so I had to give it a break for some time to look for money elsewhere because I had no support.”

His “hustle” paid off a year later when his first works were accepted in a grand exhibition at Nommo Gallery. “Experienced artists told me I was gifted and it would shine through with more practice and professional guidance,” he says.

With his painter’s eye on the crown that would come with his breakthrough into the industry, Lutalo worked like a horse, drawing and painting all kinds of things. He wanted to be distinguished for his uniqueness and therefore came with an idea of a new style he called “Modern Art of Exaggeration”, in which he relies on different colours to bring out all the small details in his works.

Inspired by the seemingly mundane things that make everyday life interesting, Lutalo’s works capture Africa in all her wonderful beauty; depicting wildlife and nature. He’s afraid the rare species of animals and plants are endangered and he’s preserving them for posterity through art.

In all this, birds have a special place in his soul. It’s the answer to why his favourite painting is that of the African Jacana, which he gives all his creative attention seeing how vividly and impressively he captures it on canvas; the colours, the distinct beak, making it as rare in its look as in its existence.

His sculpture pieces made out of wood, clay and cement, and done in abstract and realistic styles, show the social life of the African man engaged in different activities.

How does he rate Ugandan art? “Ugandan art is good but the problem is that many artistes don’t paint out of passion or to exhaust; they do it – largely – for money,” he says. “What makes it worse is that few Ugandans appreciate art; looking at it as the work of those finding a way to survive.”

Lutalo is however emphatic in saying that his art is not driven by money: “That’s why I spend a lot of time on each of my works to make people appreciate and understand what art is,” he says. “As long as someone tells me the piece is good and he picks the message, I am happy.”

Under his exaggerated art style, Lutalo also tries to promote and advocate for the enforcement of the rights of children and vulnerable women. For example, one of his paintings titled The Power of Blanket is that of children at a camp while another titled I Have to Go shows a woman leaving by the canoe her abusive man.

Lutalo, who has also exhibited at the Makerere University Margaret Trowell School of Industrial and Fine Arts, has seemingly done it all where art is involved; sculpture, painting, interior and exterior decorations, sign writing, and portraits. But his distinction, I think, is in his ability to rely on colour to bring out the intricate features in his subjects. Some of Lutalo’s works adorn the interior of Antonio’s Grill at Pioneer Mall in Kampala.

--Sunday Monitor, February 8, 2009