Feature: Ugandan teenager inspires peers in art drawing amid school closure

2021-10-08 15:55:41 GMT2021-10-08 23:55:41(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

KAMPALA, Oct. 8 (Xinhua) -- As schools in Uganda remain closed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a teenager in the central part of the country is inspiring others to develop their art talent.

Muhammed Spike Magoola, 16, started developing his art talent when he was in the lower classes of elementary school.

In his artwork, Magoola uses a pencil, paint, brush, a pen and sometimes colors. He can draw portrait faces of human beings in minutes while someone is standing right in from or using pictures taken previously. He can draw human figures, wall graphics, and art writings and as well do imaginative drawing.

When the pandemic broke out in the east African country in March 2020, schools were closed. Children remained home doing nothing.

Magoola used this time to further develop his art talent. His parents gave him a room in their nursery school. He used the room as an art gallery where his peers could come and also develop their talent instead of remaining home idle.

Every day he hosts at least 10 youths from the neighborhood.

"Some of them have art skills already which need some polishing. I always encourage them to keep their dreams alive," Magoola said.

At the time when Uganda is reporting an increase in child neglect and abuse - physical, sexual, and psychological - during the pandemic, Magoola's gallery has become a safe haven for teenagers.

Zubairi Mukama, 20, said despite being older than Magoola, he had learnt a lot from him.

"His art speaks volumes, he is talented and most importantly, he is not selfish," Mukama said.

He added that Magoola always encourages them "as long as your heart is willing, you can always achieve".

Isma Wahanira, 18, said he was inspired by Magoola to learn new lessons.

"I didn't like art at all but the weeks I have spent here have made me like it so much," Wahanira said, adding that he intends to teach other youths when schools reopen.

Sharifa Kibedi, Magoola's mother, said she decided to allocate a room to his son so that he could develop his skill as well pass on knowledge to neighboring teenagers.

"I like the fact that some boys and girls are learning from Magoola instead of wasting time moving around under the lockdown," she said.

Kibedi said once the schools open next year, she wants Magoola to continue taking art as a subject up to the university level.

"I want to encourage the youth out there to try out different talents so that they don't regret the time wasted idling when COVID-19 is gone," she added.

Magoola has commercialized his art work, attracting first his family friends, politicians, prominent business people and retirees who appreciate works of art. He markets his work on social media under the name Moon Arts. Enditem