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Visual Artist Tibirusya Rolands Roldan making a difference

In December 2010, I was privileged to attend the YOUNG ACHIEVERS AWARDS at Serena Kampala hotel courtesy of Mr. Awel Uwihanganye. President Yoweri Museveni was the guest of honor at this event whose theme was; Rewarding Innovation and Excellence.

People who had excelled in their fields were being recognized in the different categories in a bid to appreciate as well as inspire others. Not sure whether it was just luck, or what pioneer mental health advocate, Mr. Joseph Atukunda likes to refer to as serendipity, because Tibirusya who was nominated for an award in the Art, Fashion and Design category sat next to me in the audience together with his colleague Kisitu Arthur who was also nominated in the same category. What started as a random meeting and networking at an event led to great friendship and connections. The Young Achievers Awards provided a great platform for Tibirusya and it gave him great publicity too. Other renowned nominees in Roldan’s category included Gloria Wavamuno, Yunus Sebyala, Leila Nankya, John Niwagaba, Samson Senkaaba etc. He beat all of them and was announced overall winner of this category.  

From this point on his career flourished exponentially especially in live painting where he focused on events like conferences, workshops, corporate events, weddings etc. Last year at the Micheal Ocan memorial lecture and book launch in Gulu, we were privileged to have Tibirusya do a live painting of the event on canvas. There was excitement by the people in attendance especially with the signing on the portrait at the end of the function. Some of them chatted with him and promised to invite him the next they have similar events. They were very impressed with his live painting skills and being given the opportunity to take part through their signatures and comments were memorable.

It is important to understand the humble beginnings of this very famous Artist who is impacting many lives including children with disability through his talents.  Excerpts from the YOUNG ACHIEVERS AWARDS 2010 magazine gives a glimpse of his background and his rise to fame as one of the leading artists in East Africa.

Tibirusya studied  Industrial Art from Makerere University. He used his room at Mitchell hall to start his gallery. He sold his first painting at 400 000 shillings and that initiated a partnership with 3 artists that led to charity work and souvenir painting which generated in excess of 200 million shillings in less than 2 years. He then established Amour Arts Uganda operating a mini gallery and studio at Makerere University dealing in different disciplines of Art, gathering professional Artists, Sculptures, Graphic designers and Interior decorators.

Tibirusya uses creative artistry and his market includes; corporate organizations, churches and commissioned works. His art has been shared with Presidents, Diplomats, students and children. He has partnered with the Red Cross, Women International Maternity Aid (WIMA), The Gulu Walk(Canada) to mention a few. He had hundreds of artists visit his studio, telling him they had conviction in the kind of art he does. In 2010 over 400 students visited his art studio every semester for consultation.”

A renowned Artist Kwiz Era Alex who specializes in painting and illustration and is currently having an exhibition titled CONS/CIOUS+NESS (INNER FUNDAMENTALS) at MoTIV Offices that ends on 20th February had very kind comments about his colleague when asked what he knows about him. “That man is very inspirational. He gave me space in his studio at Mitchell Hall when I was at Art school, Makerere University. I have a lot of respect for him. He is a big brother to me.”

Tibirusya is optimistic about being part of Makerere University Centenary celebrations next year. He would like to capture memories of his alma mater and one of Africa’s leading universities over the years through his popular live painting at the main event but also catalogues and other souvenir items to mark the occasion. He looks forward to making a contribution in the best way he can to an institution that natured his talents.

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Written by Odoki Jimmy

Jimmy Odoki Acellam is Coordinator of Heartsounds Uganda and a Mental Health Advocate.

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Like Jesus Christ, most of us are raised by earthly fathers