A Powerful Ugandan Artist on a Mission for African Women!

Lilian Mary Nabulime, 2012. 
(Photo by: Stuart Williams. All rights reserved.)


Dr. Lilian is a role model for African women of all ages – indeed her essence of self-expression through “provocative” sculpture is a bold and courageous standing. What is to be drawn from Dr. Lilian is her mantra on women having the freedom to express themselves without fear! She describes women being perceived as “secondary citizens” in the larger sect of African society and she reveals that women risk their lives by abiding to a code of silence on issues considered not to be for public consumption. Dr. Lilian points to a new reality that the African woman can live in; a reality where women are well informed individuals, unafraid to express themselves in light of the matters that involve and affect them.

“For me art is a powerful weapon that can address issues which are of political, social, and cultural importance without raising confrontation. Furthermore, art can overcome language barriers and be used to communicate issues to people who are illiterate. As a practicing Ugandan artist I am interested in using art to address issues of public health. I developed a range of sculptures that use everyday materials in order to raise awareness and promote discussion around HIV/AIDS.” - Dr Lilian Mary Nabulime

Dr. Lilian Nabulime is a Ugandan sculptor artist and senior lecturer at Makerere University. Her works of art and their orientation towards tackling issues of African Society and Sexuality earns her the honour of being a powerful advocate for the African woman. Using sculpture as an art form to address social subjects often regarded as sensitive or taboo, her agenda has been to communicate across language and literacy barriers through visual expression. Her artwork in recent years has been tailored to actively confront HIV/AIDS, and has done so very cleverly; most notably her transparent soap sculptures, which resemble male and female genitalia, convey an important message through a simple, every-day object which is commonly associated with cleanliness. The multiple meaning behind the soap sculptures is immense to the ordinary individual and delivers an urge for open discussion on the topic of sexuality and HIV/AIDS.

By Philani H. Dhlamini