“A self taught artist…you just can’t limit yourself. You feel free to change whatever you’ve done because you know that you still have a lot in you that you can do.”
– Timothy Wandulu, Visual Artist, Inema Art Center.
Timothy Wandulu (DOB December 19, 1990) is a visual artist who was born and raised in Uganda and now lives and works in Kigali, Rwanda. After finishing high school and learning more about his Rwandese father, Wandulu moved to Rwanda to meet a side of his family that he hadn’t yet known. He found that he easily connected with the other artists working in Rwanda, some of whom had also lived in Uganda and spoke Luganda, his native language. Like many of the artists working in Rwanda, Wandulu is self-taught and has been making art all of his life. When he was little, he found opportunities to make art wherever he could: he painted village houses in bright colors and even branded cows with his own creative markings. Although Wandulu is part-Rwandese and has become fluent in the local language of Kinyarwanda (mainly by listening to a lot of hip hop music), he still feels very Ugandan. Wandulu is not only an artist, but also a poet and deep thinker with an outgoing personality. He gets his inspiration from his history, surroundings, everyday experiences, and family life as well as the natural world and human issues. He loves working as an artist in Rwanda because the art industry is still growing and he sees that there is a lot he can do here that has not yet been done. His works can be found at Inema Art Center in Kacyiru, Kigali, or you can feel free to contact him.
His most recent painting, entitled “Self-Preservation,” is a work-in-progress that he has been thinking about creating for a long time. According to Wandulu, our society, environment, and company are confusing and causes us to ask ourselves, “how do I go about this?” And then, when looking around and evaluating our situation, we look for ways to preserve ourselves so that we can continue in our environment. In whatever we do, we must preserve who we are in order to survive rather than just trying to do what everyone else is doing. Everyone must ask him or herself, “why am I like this” and “what can I do in order to be that.” For this work, Wandulu explored his surroundings to figure out how to preserve himself. When exploring, he was inspire by nature and decided to make the base of the work green. There is a bird and nest nestled into the work as well as figures, which he sketched on to the canvas before thinking of the colors he wanted to apply. His goal is to show the connection between nature and people. The other shapes are features that came into his mind as he painted and that he decided to put on the canvas. He just enjoys the process of creating and feels free to do whatever he wants in a work. He decides the colors and tones as he paints. If there is too much of one color, he can add more layers of paint to the canvas and change the tones. This process can take about two weeks even though he could do it in a day and just get it done. Because he loves this work in particular, he takes more time and give it more details.
This work is made out of acrylic paints as well as toilet paper. Wandulu likes to use a little toilet paper in his works because he loves the contrast it gives to the work and the way the paper falls on the canvas when he mixes it with paint. He also likes how the painted paper gives the work some textures and patterns, which remind him of folded or wrinkled skin. Incorporating this other media also excites him during the process of painting. He likes the way the brush moves over the paper and how unpredictable the textures can be. As the creator, the textures excite his eyes because he questions why certain parts of the paper look one way while another part looks different. He says that this kind of questioning and reasoning creates a relationship between him and the client who views or buys his work.