Kibiribiri paints his way to success

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The artist displays some of his paintings. / Francis Byaruhanga

As a child, Osco Kibiribiri never thought he would become an artist. Today his life has been shaped by the love for art, particularly painting. And he does not regret choosing a career in painting.

“When I was a little boy I didn’t see myself becoming a painter but as years went by, I developed the love for art from my classmate and childhood friend-a talented painter,” says Kibiribiri, adding that the industry has pushed him to become more creative.

He says the career has forced him to learn that being aggressive and creative is a natural part of growth as an artist.

“When you get frustrated you take risks and push through until you make ends meet and find a new discovery. This has helped me get out of my comfort zone and increase my skills rapidly,” he says.

Ever since the 24-year-old chose to pursue a career in art, his vision has been to paint what he sees as beautiful and worthy.

Most of his work is inspired by the African setting. His pieces include women dressed in traditional African clothes, influential African people like Presidents and heroes. “I paint anything that I am attracted to, to see what my imagination looks like on canvas,” he says.

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Some of Kibiribiri’s paintings. / Francis Byaruhanga

As an artist, he likes to be creative and unique, meaning that sometimes he paints what he sees in his dreams. Kibiribiri aims to make his paintings educative and help viewers get creative inspirations.

The visual artist is a student at University of Tourism, Information Technology and Business Studies. He is also the leader of Thousand Hills Gallery, a group of university students’ painters formed in 2013.

Despite the challenges most aspiring artists face, Kibiribiri says that he believes his career in painting will make him very rich one day.

“As of now, I have not yet been able to make a lot of money because I’m still new, but I am optimistic that with time I’ll be able to make a fortune and be able to support my family and pay for my school dues,” he says.

He hastens to add that although what he earns is not much it has enabled him to pay rent and university tuition on top of supporting his family.

He sells his paintings on the streets and sometimes at exhibitions when an opportunity comes.

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Through social media he is also able to sell his paintings and connect with people by posting some of his work. However, challenges still come his way.

“The main challenge as a beginner is that you are required to work extra hard for your products to win the minds and hearts of the public unlike already established artists who have already conquered the market and made a name,” he says.

He also says that the taxman comes knocking on the door when they set up a gallery, even before generating income. He urges the government to give incentives to star up businesses in the arts sector.

He says his role models were ‘great painters’ in Uganda whom he grew up admiring, the likes of Jjuko Ssetimba who had a gallery in the Kampala suburb of Makindye.

“He was a good craftsman who made necklaces out of folded papers and painted really well. In early 2000 when I was a pupil at Nakasero Primary School in Kampala, I admired his art pieces and bought some from his shop,” he says.

“I got inspired and I started painting right away,” he adds.

Going forward, Kibiribiri is looking to blend painting with technology innovations since he also has interest in ICT innovations.

“I will not only focus on art and painting but I am doing my research and trying to develop a software application,” he says.

In doing so, he believes his art will remain relevant and evolve with the times to give him an edge in the process.

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