Tindi’s collages redefine the rules of art

Saturday February 2 2019

Ronald Tindi artwork

Elephant Dynasty, by Ronald Tindi. PHOTO | KARI MUTU | NMG 

By KARI MUTU
More by this Author

Ugandan artist Ronald Tindi portrays his dreams in collages of bold colours, with elements of cubism.

Tindi is also keen on conserving the environment. “Because of our selfishness, all we think about is making money out of nature,” he says.

His mixed media works have patches of colourful kitenge material, leftovers he collects from local tailors.

He applies thick layers of paint “to relate and complete the look and relevance of the artwork.”

Rows of elephants cut from bright fabrics stand on a background of white paint in Elephant Dynasty. The thick, glossy acrylic adds texture to the flat, matt quality of the textiles, and evokes the three dimensional reality of nature.

Another illustration shows slender coloured fish that remind one of an aquarium or marine life. Tindi often paints fish, which he says symbolise transparency.

A recent work — on display at the Karen Country Club in Nairobi — is the brilliantly coloured Last Supper. Tindi’s take on the religious classic is to dress the 12 apostles in colourful African shirts and fedora hats. They are facing a central figure, a woman with African attire and head wrap, and there is something arresting in the way that Tindi has redefined this well-known event.

Other works are social commentaries on modern life, such as the lot of the African woman, urban living, families, and the lifestyles of the rich.

Tindi depicts his topics in an optimistic manner, and most of his paintings are easy to understand.

However, some of his other images are presented impressionistically, like A Chilly Evening Date, where the roiling brown sky and earth frame couples sitting together in a park. In this one, your mind is drawn into deeper reflection.

Tindi has a diploma in draughtsmanship, but is mostly a self-taught artist who is not afraid to push boundaries in the techniques he uses.

Consequently, he says, people say that the way he applies colour “violates the rules of art.” So he has named both his style and studio Tindi Colours.

Tindi has exhibited in Uganda and Kenya, and his studio is located in Wakiso, north of Kampala.