Interview with Wilber Mazemu – Artist from Uganda

Wilber Mazemu

Wilber Mazemu is an artist from Uganda, now settled in Kenya. He has been pursuing art since a young age. You can contact Wilber by email and also view his artwork on his webpage on ArtWeb.

ExtraImaginary: Please give us a background of yourself and your journey in art.

Wilber Mazemu: My name is Wilber Mazemu born in Eastern Uganda in1987 in a Village called Bupadhengo. I have my Mother and my Father, 2 older brothers, and 2 younger sisters. We are five siblings, I am in the middle. One of my sisters is in Jinja town and the other sister is staying with my mom. My brothers work in the market. I completed my Primary school at my village. I entered in category of art when I started high school in Jinja, still in eastern Uganda. I completed my high school in Kampala, which is the capital city on my country Uganda. I joined Mkumba University and after completing my studies, I returned to my town and started work in Jinja town. I joined a guy called mike who had a small gallery in Jinja town. I worked with him for almost 2-3 years that was 2005-2008. From there I started making my own work and supplying them to the craft shops in Entebbe. In 2014, I decided to change country because the market of painting is very small in Uganda compared to the Kenyan Market.

ExtraImaginary: After living in Kenya, do you feel that the art scene and opportunities are better in Kenya than in Uganda?

Wilber Mazemu: Yes the Kenyan market for art painting is higher then Uganda and money value of Uganda is very low which is why I decided to visit Kenya to see how they work.

ExtraImaginary: What are the difficulties in pursuing Art in Kenya? What would you change?

Wilber Mazemu: My difficult in pursuing Art in Kenya is transporting my work from where I sleep to the National Museum of Kenya because I don’t have a car and can’t travel in the matatus (public buses) with it, because of their size.

ExtraImaginary: Your art is mostly depicting people and animals. What are you trying to convey through your art?

Wilber Mazemu: My style is African with its culture. In these African paintings, you can see the sunlight overcoming darkness. The sunlight is so warm and pleasant, unlike darkness. The sun shine in my mind makes me smile due to my victory and successes in life and I believe darkness will never come my way, because the faces in the painting, are my ancestors, who will always protect me till the end of time.

ExtraImaginary: A lot of your paintings are set in the background of a village. Please talk about that and what it means to you.

Wilber Mazemu: My work is about the culture of African people, that is why you see in all of my work African life.

ExtraImaginary: Who are your favourite artists?

Wilber Mazemu: Patric Mukabi the Kenyan from Godown Artcent and Pablo Ruiz Picasso.

ExtraImaginary: What is your most memorable moment as an artist?

Wilber Mazemu: I don’t want to talk about it because it so sad and I cannot forget it.

ExtraImaginary: What are your goals in regards to your art?

Wilber Mazemu: My goal in my journey as an artist is that I want to be remembered as a great artist like Michael Angelo and Pablo Picasso.

ExtraImaginary: Thank you very much for sharing with us Wilber.

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