Vincent Okuja was born in 1982 and grew up in a family of 8 children. He was abducted by the rebels when he was just 11 years old before his parents relocated to another region to save his mother. He is a visual artist from northern Uganda who practices therapeutic art with war-affected, deaf, mentally and physically disabled, and children at the detention centre in Gulu. Vincent is also the founder of Visual Voices Uganda-Dokolo and chairperson of the Uganda Art Therapists Network.
Artraker / Award Nominee, 2013
CONFLICT AREA / COUNTRY OF REFERENCE: NORTHERN UGANDA
I am always carrying a sketch book with me. Pencil and mini paint are in my pockets. Ready to capture any inspirations form the inside or outside. My art tends to depict social, political and cultural issues that affect my country Uganda in Africa.
In this particular project Memories, I doodled between the past and future. I love and hate this piece showing beauty amidst painful memories. I try to relate to it through my personal experience of being a former child soldier and that of the people whom I work with. Starting from the centre with the most intense place of being a girl, raped and pregnant, holding a gun, with the mind full of revenge and hate. One would wonder what kind of child would come out of her womb.
I make art to document history, something to tell our children and the whole world since art is one of the best ways in doing so. My aim is to make people aware of the dangers of war, and spread peace if we want to save the younger generation. Many people have not visited northern Uganda because they think they will be killed but that's not true any more. People are working on reconstruction and peace building. Through art I have been able to give children a chance to express themselves visually. They are able to ventilate through their lives and have a sense of healing.
Drawing, 22 x 30 inches, Water color and ink on Water color paper
© Artraker CIC 2014