upendo

Acrylic on a 60x60cm canvas. For sale on my online shop .
UPENDO means “Love” in Swahili. The word was chosen by Emme, a 15 year old Congolese refugee living in Nakivale Refugee Settlement in Uganda.

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Share The Word Project in Uganda

I spent 5 weeks in Uganda, painting in a refugee settlement which is home to 100 000 refugees who mainly come from the DR Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea.

I painted in a predominantly Congolese neighbourhood, with a community who mainly come from the Eastern Congolese regions of North Kivu and South Kivu. They had fled violences that have been taken place for years with different milicia raiding villages and taking control of gold, diamond and coltan mines.

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Shahed (15 years old) chose the word humanity (“Insaniyah” in arabic). She lives in a place where humans are segregated, but she told me that she wants her wall to be for humanity altogether. She cares about humanity, no matter the race or religion.

Yafa 5

Samar chose the word “Jaffa” (pronounced “yafa”). Jaffa, which today is part of Tel Aviv, is the city from which most families here in Balata come from, before being made refugees in 1948. She chose this word because she wants the young generations to know where their real homeland is.

Shadja3ah

Mira (15 years old) chose the word “Shajaah” (bravery in arabic). She told me that you have to be brave to live in Balata. There’s constant tension in the Camp, shootings waking you up at night, and incertainty when it come to the future.

Soul

Maryam (14 years old) chose the word “Soul” and wanted me to write it in English. She told me that the soul is the only part of a person that remains truly free. People can take her freedom away, but her soul will remain free.