Mr. Sekajugo Collin, a Ugandan visual artist, is the third recipient of the prestigious annual human rights award. This award recognizes and celebrates extraordinary contributions of individuals to the field of human rights. It is given to individuals that have a stellar record in the advancement of human rights in Uganda.
At the human rights convention 2019 organized by Chapter Four Uganda, Justice Kenneth Kakuru presented the award to Collin in absentia. On his behalf, Jackie Asiimwe, teal leader at CivSource Africa, received the award.
In a pre-recorded video, Jackie recalls her first encounter with Collin. ‘I went to a show of his titled ‘The Fist of Stella’. He wanted to connect what her [Stella Nyanzi] protest was and meant in terms of advancing her own voice, speaking truth to power and he did it through art.’
“His painting of the clenched fists; “The Fist of Stella”, symbolizing resilience and resistance of jailed Dr. Stella Nyanzi against mistreatment at Makerere University has become a symbol of the struggle against oppression and human rights violation’ says Nicholas Opiyo, the Executive Director of Chapter Four Uganda.
Jackie added that when we think of the subject of human rights, we should be conscious that it impacts all of us and each of us has talents we can use to contribute as Collin does.
Collin, in acceptance of the award, said he is ‘humbled to be acknowledged as an artist especially one who came from a society that did not recognize the importance of art in developing society.’
Eshban Kwesiga, the Program Manager at CEPA Uganda, submitted, ‘I think that no other visual artist has used their platform, their influence and access as much as Collin to highlight the inconvenient truths and uncomfortable reality of the social injustices that our society is plagued with through their art.’
‘Human rights work is not reserved for lawyers or those in the legal fraternity, it’s for all of us and let’s use the power in our connections to speak out and also create a bridge between art and human rights,’ Jackie concluded.
Collin Sekajugo is in Washington DC to showcase his work but he had this to say on his Facebook page.