Profile: Nnyanzi: family life on canvas.
The titles of the batik pictures created by Nuwa Wamala Nnyanzi, an African artist, tell the story of each in only a few words: "Unlimited love;" "Every child should be the cause of love;" "breast for me-bottle for the dog;" "Responsible mother;" "The fewer the easier to provide for;" "For comfortable living's sake, plan before you plant;" and "Fathers too can be motherly." The pictures and the inspiration behind them are remarkable. The themes arose spontaneously when the young refugee from Idi Amin's Uganda found himself penniless in Nairobi at the age of 26. 1 of 17 children of a midwife mother, Nnyanzi joined the Medical Corps after leaving school but had been detained on suspicion of working against the regime and had escaped to Kenya. Needed to make a living, he saw the potential tourist market and taught himself to produce batiks in a variety of shades and colors. After early experiments depicting dancers and women at work, he began producing images of family life. A continuing theme is the tribulations of women in Africa. The artist held his 1st exhibition in 1980, 4 years after arriving in Kenya. In 1983 Nnyanzi decided to concentrate on 1 theme -- the family -- and promised to produce 50 pictures on family planning themes for an exhibition which coincided with the government's family planning drive. A succession of successful exhibitions has followed.