In an exclusive with Campus Bee, Kigemuzi Mervyn Balikuddembe narrated his story as both a Civil Engineering student at Makerere University and life after Campus. Kigemuzi graduated this year in January during Makerere’s 69th graduation ceremony with a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering.
After realizing a gap in the pencil drawings industry, Kigemuzi decided to specialize in pencil drawings for both still life and living things like people and wild life. His passion for art never held him back despite pursuing a totally different course (Civil Engineering).
Unlike most young artistes, Kigemuzi did not pursue art as a subject at any academic level, in fact, he dropped it as early as senior two.
“I never studied art as a subject. I actually dropped it in S.2. The thing is when you are studying art it’s all about the marks and this realism isn’t really about the marks. I didn’t get the skill from school, when I was studying the art in class it wasn’t that real” Kigemuzi narrated.
Kigemuzi later supported his point explaining that drawings in class used to take only 3-4 hours while his now take him between 3-4 days. While answering the question on why he prefers reality (pencil drawings), apparently he never wanted to take the direction of printing and using computers to add quality on his art.
When it comes to passion, most people find a hard time in balancing it with their main schedule, however, this wasn’t a challenge for Kigemuzi. He revealed that studying was his first priority at Makerere and art would take the least of his time.
“No, it never affected me. Well, at Makerere, it used to take me longer than 4 days because I would do it in parts. By then the work wasn’t as good as it is right now because I could not concentrate much” he said.
Speaking of education, Kigemuzi says that he never got any retake throughout his 4 years at Makerere neither did he participate in any strike. As a Lumbox fellow, he enjoyed practicing the Hall’s culture, surprisingly, he never smashed any babe because of art.
“I never got any retake. Lumumba I should say is the most entertaining hall with a lot of solidarity and we got a lot of favours being Lumumbists. I liked the culture, it was just a vibrant hall” he said.
“Hahaha! no, I never got any babe because of my art. It’s hard to tell that a person has come because of art” Kigemuzi smartly refused when I asked him about it.
Just like any other graduate who is hungry for money, the first thing they all think about is getting a job and Kigemuzi wasn’t any different. He apparently quit his construction job to pursue passion using the little money provided by the job.
“I got work when I just graduated but I felt imbalanced. I had to first drop the job to pursue my passion. The job helped me get money to start and I get a commission like three or four times per month.” Kigemuzi said.
Citing low pay by Ugandan customers, Kigemuzi’s price tag favors most of his customers who purchase his art from as low as UGX 80,000 to UGX 300,000. According to him the price depends on the size of the art piece.
“It depends on size, but my works costs between eighty thousand to three hundred thousand. I have worked on someone’s book cover and I charged him three hundred thousand“ he added.
Kigemuzi has drawn several celebrities including A Pass, Fabiola, Baby Gloria, Golola Moses among others. You can find his work in most art galleries around the city as well as his main showcasing place in Mutungo called Avarc Apparel.