“I am an experimental artist who believes that the work I create bridges the gap between the traditional and the present in order to foresee the future. As the founder of Ecoart Uganda—a company that supports environmental consciousness through visual art, and is currently building an amusement playground from recycled material—my work promotes recycling in Uganda and creates environmental awareness. In my work I experiment with different materials to emphasise the potential in recycled alternatives. As necessity is the mother of invention I believe that Ugandan visual artists should become more aware of locally available resources.”
Ruganzu Bruno will exhibit on the premises of the National Theatre, near the Arts & Crafts Market, Nakasero.
Ruganzu Bruno graduated from Kyambogo University in 2010 with a Bachelors degree in Art and Industrial Design. He currently works as a visual artist and part time lecturer at Kyambogo University teaching painting and sculpture.
As an eco-artist, Bruno works predominantly with recycled material. In 2010 he founded Ecoart Uganda, a platform that supports environmental consciousness through visual art. As a non-profit organization, Ecoart Uganda reaches out to the community to promote recycling and create environmental awareness. In order to closely interact with the public, Bruno is particularly active in street art festivals including LaBa! Street Art Festival (2011), This is Uganda Festival (2010 and 2011), Bayimba International Festival of the Arts (2010) and the Bakhana Bamasaba Project Gathering (2009).
In April this year Bruno won the City 2.0 TED Prize at the TEDx Summit in Doha, Qatar. The TEDx City 2.0 event is about creating ideas that can change cities with a focus on education, culture, environment and innovation.
Bruno’s award winning idea, to build an amusement playground from recycled material, took shape at a school in Kireka and opened in September. Bruno remains an organizer of TEDx events in Kampala.
Bruno’s quest to create ecological awareness is reflected in his KLA ART 012 project ‘Eco-volution.’ In his container the artist creates an installation of sculptures, made from recycled material, that appear to be crawling out from a pile of rubbish. Bruno consciously transports the audience to a point in the future when waste quite literally takes over our city. He not only draws attention to the risk of this increasing littering but also offers the solution of recycling.
“I want to pioneer the course for recycling in Kampala to give people a belief that what they see as waste can actually still be of value. The most significant message behind my artwork is: recycle, reuse and rethink. This I believe can lead to change.”
Bruno’s sculptures address other important sociological issues that question the viewer’s value and belief system. One example depicts a man tenderly embracing a pregnant woman to illustrate the importance of caring for one another in relationships. The sculpture also aims to propose a closer involvement of men in the upbringing of children, which in Uganda remains a predominantly female domain.
Another of the sculptures features a figure whose head is made from a television screen. The screen runs video clips featuring various sites in Kampala to portray the immense littering in those places and the waste management of the community. These city snapshots evoke the question of who is to blame for the waste concerns in Kampala. Without identifying the problem as either politics or society Bruno demonstrates the importance of collective effort and points out the possibilities and responsibilities of the entire community. In the process of his installation he does not want to give public preconceived ideas about recycling but quite simply aims to, “leave people with different thoughts about life and how they relate to it.”