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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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.

Yarinta

Maimuna chose the word YARINTA ( = childhood in Hausa ). Maimuna’s childhood ended prematurely when she got married at the age of 12 and had to leave school. She became pregnant straight away and her first child was born when she was only 13 years old. She regrets not having had a proper childhood and a proper education. Her wish is for all children to be able to go to school until they complete their education and only start a family life afterwards. She hopes society will change in that way.