With the current unemployment woes, you can choose to sit back and wait on a job opportunity calling or you can be that innovative and creative to start something for yourself.
For Ssekitto Kalule Emmanuel, 22, a third year student at Makerere University pursuing Bachelors in industrial and fine art (BIFA), the one thing that he will forever be grateful for having gotten from the Lord is his talent of Art. “My business is about making art that can be decorative, and captivating,” he says.
Because Kalule never chose to sit on his talent, he has lived to see immense opportunities swing his way.
“As a child, I always liked people who did unique stuff, things that could make me wonder how it is done, what it is made up of, what it takes and what it required’, states a humble Emmanuel.
His journey dates way back in primary school where he used to illustrate movies & cartoons for students for grab and money. He also started doing art for sale after school and even offered to do his friends exercise at school for a fee in a bid to grow his talent.
Emmanuel’s breakthrough came in 2009 when he went to Europe courtesy of his soccer team. “In 2009 when I traveled with my soccer team (Kampala junior team) to Europe, we went with crafts which we had bought from the craft village that we later sold to people in Norway and Sweden therefore that gave me an impression that Ugandan art has got market in Europe. So when I went back to Europe in 2013, I had with me some art works in form of paintings, drawings and t-shirts with art prints of mine so that I could sell and generate some money. Ever since then, I have never looked back in my art career”, narrates Kalule.
Like any other hustle and struggle, challenges are scenarios you can’t avoid but simply have to soldier on when they cross your path.
“The expenses of the art material was the main challenge I faced during the start”, states Emmanuel. Also, he says, ‘there was so much negativity from people around me, most of them despising art. But I stuck to my guns.”
He adds that marketing his work has always been challenging as many people aren’t interested and do not know/appreciate art in its truest state.
Asked about his achievements, For Emmanuel Kalule the opportunities that have come his way because of art are immense.
He has been involved in a number of art exhibitions with various well-known Ugandan artists like Patrick Mulondo, George Kyeyune. Exhibited his art pieces at various functions all over the world. He’s also exhibited at Makerere art gallery among other private exhibitions.
‘The best achievement is when I was commissioned to paint a portrait of Warren Buffet the third richest man in the world. It was ordered by one of the Ugandan businessmen who was so much interested in the way Warren did his stock blocking in 2013’, stresses a happy Kalule.
He was also contacted by an art organization; World Citizen Artist in Paris France to represent Africa in a documentary that was intended to use art in the promotion of world peace in 2014.
Recently, he was contacted by the Church of Uganda to make a sculpture of the Uganda martyrs at Muyonyo martyrdom in the remembrance of the first martyrs that were killed by Kabaka Mwanga in Muyonyo (St.Thomas And St.Denis Ssebugwawo) but unfortunately, according to Kalule, the project was given to another sculptor because of some things that happened behind the scenes. However, he places it under his achievements because it was an honor to be considered as a priority in the preparation of Pope Francis visit in Uganda.
He came third in a sculpture competition that was organized in Italy. It was an art call that was organized by PPART Italy as an online art competition of which sculptors all over the world participated. Kalule came third after an artist form USA and another artist from Italy.
Kalule’s art too has been used on many platforms across the world, “My art was used in the Milan art expo by UN in the campaign for Women Empowerment and Zero to Hunger Campaign in 2014 when they called up artists to come up with art works that could express the way women need to be empowered and how art can be used to sensitize about combating world hunger problem” adds Kalule.
Asked about his earnings in art, Kalule was quick to disclose that in art you never earn daily but when you do, you earn quite good amounts of money. “I can pocket up to shs4m and more on a good day but this can be after some long time because art is not like shoes or food which you may eat every day or get worn-out easily. It’s something that can stay for long so when people buy art from me, it may take them time to come for others.”
With this struggle, he has been able to harvest rent, pay utility bills and give some of the money to charity for a good cause.
For Kalule everything around his hustle rotates around time management. ‘I always fix time for everything in my life. When it’s time for school I am there in time….after school I am away doing my art. The fact being that I study during day helps me fix most of my time in the nights so that I can create more time for myself”, he interacts in a laid-back tone.
Passionate, activism, ambitious, endless and creativity are the five word-descriptions he gives his hustle though campus. He plans to establish an art space in Uganda which will accommodate all talented persons that what to change lives of communities through the use of their abilities.
“Those who think that are crazy enough to change the world do” is Emmanuel Kalule’s success formula to the hustle. God Bless Your Hustle. Campusbee wishes you well.