I stood transfixed at an image of hands like a Creator`s holding time, cowrie shells, flowers, a compass and the wealth of the world.  A tall, slender man dressed in black: a tee and skinny jeans wearing a cap walks into the room. We make eye contact and smile and he asks me, ” what do you think about the art?”

Immediately I asked, “Are you Hassan, the artist?”

“Yes. He replied shyly.

This sparked off our dance: what do you think about this painting? Why this colour?  What about this one in the corner? What mood were you in?


The exhibition opens with the painting of a skull with a golden eye and the right eye has cobwebs. The left eye has a pink flower growing out of it. This image transfixes you as you ponder on its absurdity and anomaly. Skulls don’t birth beautiful things but artistic expressions defy norms.

Art by Hassan Matovu

“This particular piece was born out of grief,” says Hassan. The world was dark thus the cobwebs in the right eye but he started to “see well” and this he represents with the golden eye and blossoming flower. He overcame the grief and this image was birthed as a monument. I will ask dear reader, how do you see??

The outstanding piece is one of a palm of hands with time, flowers, cowrie shells,and the things the world throws at us. I was drawn in by this piece the moment I walked into the Goethe Zentrum Kampala Conference hall where the exhibition was on display.

This piece provoked a question, does God hold our time, destiny and purpose in His hands? Is He our true north? Hassan and I discussed  this as well

Hassan said,” the piece speaks of the wealth we have to pursue our dreams: time, currency represented by cowrie shells and more resources. We have it all and may we move in that knowledge and be all we can be.”

Hassan Matovu, the artist

Another piece spoke about the power we have to cut ourselves off from dead things represented by a skeletal hand. We have the power of choice. Let’s use it.

Image by Hassan Matovu

Each piece has a story to it. We exchanged thoughts as I shared what I thought about each piece and he shared his intention for each piece. Faith and the void we feel, we reach out for an innate power. Mother-son relationships and blossoming as one steps into the unknown.

Getting into the mind of a creator is a privilege. I thanked Hassan profusely for his generosity.

Follow Hassan on Instagram to view his beautiful works.

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