One of the more captivating wooden sculptures by Lilian Mary Nabulime is Ssebo — a grotesque figure of masculine forms. It has an oversize face with large expressive eyes, a nose and mouth.
Nabulime says Ssebo is a reflection of the patriarchal society she lives in, where men are dominant and usually make all the important decisions.
Another sculpture Masculine has the lips painted red with well-groomed long hair. To Nabulime, this is a representation of men who beautify themselves.
Masculine, sculpted in 2011, is made from the strong musizi wood and copper.
Nabulime’s sculpture made from the musizi wood and copper titled Feminine (pictured) is of a female form in abstract. The 2011 sculpture measuring 165x79x56 centimetres shows a heavily pregnant woman.
These are among more than 30 sculptures by Nabulime on display at the exhibition “Dr. Lilian Mary Nabulime - Sculptures (1993 - 2018) showing at Afriart Gallery in Industrial Area in Kampala until March 31.
Nabulime sculptures are from 25 years of work. All are on sale and are made of mixed media including wood, metal, nails, terracotta and textiles, among other materials.
Her 1998 sculpture Conceptions is made of jacaranda wood and depicts a mother with two children.
A series of 2017 terracotta sculptures is titled Expressions. They depict faces with expressions of thoughtfulness, anger and laughter.
Nabulime has been making the sculptures since completing her master's degree in 1993. Some have been reserved and others already sold.
She said that many young people are not aware of her work and would like to raise awareness and promote discussion on the meaning of art beyond the visual. Her sculptures reflect gender issues, health and protection of the environment.
She has exhibited in Uganda and abroad.
Nabulime is also a lecturer at Margaret Trowell School of Industrial and Fine Art, Makerere University.
She says carving wood is hard work and takes a lot of time. She chooses wood that flows along the grain and growth pattern of the tree.
“I enjoy working in wood. It’s a warm material when I touch it. It also responds to my feelings and thoughts. It gives me calm when I am stressed. When I hold the mallet and chisel my mind focuses on the wood, but at the same time I am reflecting on issues that make me happy or sad. It is usually time for contemplation of my soul.”