This is Lent season in Christianity that leads to Jesus’ crucifixion, resurrection, and celebration of Easter. In Orthodox Tewahedo Christianity here in Ethiopia, it is Fasting time too. It takes the form of abstaining from all animal protein during a 56-day Lent, until Fasika. It is also The Fast for the Baha’i Faith, a 19-day period, which culminates into Nawruz on 21st March, the first day of spring in some parts of the world. It is similar to Ramadan in Islam: no food or drink from sunrise to sunset. This time of the year marks a meeting point for my childhood and adult life. I was raised Catholic but became Baha’i as an undergraduate at Makerere University. I loved to read. OK, I still love to read. I read voraciously from Janice Lever’s library at Auntie Clare’s Kindergarten in Mengo. She is a woman with a golden heart! A! Her commission of illustrations for children’s books availed me the pocket money every campuser needs, as well as a rich library with a quiet place to immerse myself in new mysteries.
Anyway I am digressing – Lent… Fasting – I am getting there … In 1997, Bruno Sserunkuma and Rose Namubiru Kirumira completed a chapel interior in Kamuli. They were commissioned by the Salesians of Don Bosco to create artworks for the chapel at St Joseph Vocational Training Centre. It is very peaceful in that little chapel based on the kasiisira, the round hut in local architecture. The tadooba-design lamps on the walls are Namubiru Kirumira’s. Their light casts just enough illumination on Sserunkuuma’s wall ‘plaques’ recounting the Way of the Cross.
Sserunkuuma took the Ganda pot, cut it in half, and transformed it from a water vessel to an object of veneration. He is a ceramist, a Muganda man, Musajja wa Kabaka, married to omumbejja. Inevitably, he turned to the material culture of the Baganda, drawing on his heritage, to inform these artworks, adding his art school education for the glazing. Painted patterns form his recognizable signature style.
Now, could someone please to go to Don Bosco chapel during this fasting period, and at Easter, then tell us how these artworks animate the congregation?