Batik art is a resist method of dyeing and decorating fabric. A resist is anything that cannot allow dyes through. I use hot wax as my resist on cotton fabric. It's about patience which in the end is rewarded as the wax is removed and the masterpiece is revealed. This page shows this journey, my journey in batik. Enjoy
My last project this year that I started in November is the use of one sketch to do two works in varying patterning and color. The picture shows three Ugandan women weaving baskets and exchanging knowledge about baskets. These two batiks summarize what I've been doing this year - telling a Ugandan story through the colorful patterning in our fabrics. These patterns are all unique and original. I take an extra mile at ensuring that each person in the batik wears a dress with a different pattern. I thank God for you my friends who have encouraged me and made it possible for me to continue creating.
This is a batik that I was not ready to do but later agreed to take on the challenge. A hippo with young on the beach side. I thank God because this was an unexpected success and the beginning of more animal batik projects in the new year 2011.
This is the last of my fish meeting series. I wanted the crack effect to dominate this picture for it to have a strong look.
Street scene batik (Old Kiwoko hospital maternity ward and doctor's village)
This batik shows growing maturity in depicting street scene in my batik art. The location is the old Kiwoko hospital maternity ward and doctor's village in the middle ground. I think I'm now ready to try a city-scape scene from Kampala city.
This is a brand new batik titled FACING THE COMPETITION (2010) 22"X33". The inspiration for this work came from new trends in interior design whereby the use of big handmade flower vases takes center stage. These are stuffed with dry flowers of various types to create a welcoming atmosphere. In one of the shopping malls that I visited, flower vases had been lined up outside an antique shop. My interest was in the distinct patterning on each of these vases. It appeared like they were in some form of a competition. I dwelt on this imaginary idea of a competition and I wanted to extend it a notch higher by stuffing the vases with a common type of dry flowers, the dry sticks. This is one of the few works inspired by interior design trends.
In this batik project, I was tasked to create an aerial view 'artistic impression' of New Hope Kasana. I was able to get it by walking around the place many times. As you come into the place, you face the school yard (middle ground). Smaller dirt roads branch off from the main road into a homestead. By the time you come to the path leading to the seventh homestead, you realise that you've just walked a semi-circle. Trees make a full circle around the school. Interesting place.
In this piece, I was faced with a challenge of making a different pattern in each of the 'busuti' (a traditional dress in Uganda). I picked this idea from the introduction ceremony which precedes a wedding in Uganda. In this ceremony, the groom is accompanied by friends and family with many gifts to give to the family of the bride. The groom's side makes two lines outside the bride's family home, composing of women in colorful busuti and men in white gowns locally known as kanzu. They do this for a few minutes before they are allowed into the family home.
My attention is always on the women whose dresses are all distinct from each other, this is what I tried to portray in this batik.
This weekend, I'm challenging myself with painting a batik inspired by Masai necklaces (one of many I've done before). Whereas I've previously been using a multicolor approach, this time I aim to use one color theme RED with varying shades and tones. The end product I hope will be a series of necklaces in a bundle separated by light and dark red, yellow, brown and black shades.
Doing what I enjoy doing
Waxing before dyeing with Red 3
Having added Red 3, this batik is slowly coming to life.
Finally I've been able to finish this little batik titled THE KING (2010) 15"X15". I started this project 2 weeks ago and am already pleased with the result. I wanted to surround the king with riches and glamour as he sat on his throne. I was trying to portray him as a lonely chap despite all the riches. As I did this picture I remembered an incident one morning in 2005 watching a big SUV carrying the prince of Toro Kingdom to school. At the time he was referred to as the youngest king in the world, he was seated in the back with an armed policeman and a driver. I couldn't help but to think that he was lonely despite all the royal treatment he was getting. This batik is not for sale.
I was seated at the back seat of a taxi when I saw a group of ladies arguing at a fruit market. I was able to observe intently because of a traffic hold up we were in. One of them nodded as she pulled out her pulse and handed over a pink shilling note. At this moment the saleslady was beaming with a smile as she waved them off. One of them lifted a bunch of bananas and the others followed her to a waiting car a short distance infront of us.
What I didn't paint in this picture is that the sales lady at the stall began acting in a way that showed something was wrong. She was keenly inspecting a pink shilling note flipping it over and holding it up. Our taxi began to move on behind a line of other vehicles, one of which belonged to the ladies who had bought a bunch of bananas at the stall. Then suddenly the sales lady came with the note in her hand shouting that the money was a counterfeit. The line began moving faster and she was banging on the trunk but the car did not stop. As we…
Deep in the greenery of Luweero is a quiet place known as New Hope. I went this week on an invitation to do a series of batiks describing the classical scenes of this place. Armed with my camera, pencil and paper, i set out to explore this vast place dotted with tall trees all around.
There is a huge football ground (below) infront of 3 classroom blocks and part of my assignment was to draw children playing and shouting in this field.
On this day the field was empty, so i sat there imagining that they were there.
It was interesting to find out as you walk that New Hope is like a big circle with 7 spikes coming off it. In the centre of the circle are the 3 classroom blocks and the football field. Each spike is a road with a name that leads to a "home" that has the same name. A "home" consists of 5 well built huts; 4 huts serving as dormitories on the side and 1 communal hut in the middle. Am supposed to do a batik showing this arrangement.
In this brand new batik THE ROAD INTO BLUE HILL VILLAGE (2010) 20"x33", I wanted to do something that i have never done, something different. I imagined a peaceful place where people lived in little huts on a hillside surrounded by rivers on one side and blue hills on the other. However i didn't want to put in people, just the scenery. My favorite color is blue so i can't stop looking at this batik and thanking God for the work of my hands.
I took this photograph from one of the buildings surrounding the old taxi park in Kampala. I liked the formation made by the umbrellas. There's a trader inside each umbrella selling all sorts of stuff, from stationary to underwear. They are strategically located at the end of a long concrete staircase which brings in people on their way to board taxis going to different parts of the city and country.
The closeness of the umbrellas says much about the people working inside them. Once you reach there, you not only realise that they deal in similar merchandise, but also they tend to be discussing a topic among themselves.These discussions are merely shouts amidst the noise from the park. The topics range from politics, cheating wives and husbands, fake pastors to a passerby whose tummy reminds them of corrupt policemen. Such is the endless inspiration i get whenever i pass through the taxi park.
This small batik SHARING KNOWLEDGE(2010) 10"X16" , I brought together 3 characters in a conversation. I took time to unify them with the same dress code (Masai). Using the same color theme, i was successful in shading light and dark tones in the dressing and the result was stunning. This is one of my favorite batiks.
This batik is a hint to where my work is headed. I now dedicate most of my time on the detail in the busuti, the traditional central Uganda dressing. In this batik i wanted to come up with a blue color theme with a distinct patterning but with a unifying feature of big and small circles.
For the past 3 weeks i've had a privilege to do a series of pictures of a new maternity ward at Kiwoko Hospital. This was a new area for me as i contemplated on how to begin. I traveled to Kiwoko, a 2 hour drive journey from Kampala into the heart of Luweero District and took photographs. I sketched basing on the angles in the photographs and it was the first time that i had to deal with PERSPECTIVE in my paintings. It was fun doing it but challenging at the same time.
This is a brand new batik titled FISH MEETING (2010) by Dominic. It's 33x19 inches in size.
INSPIRATION This was an inspiration afterI watched a documentary about the disappearing species of fish in Lake Victoria due to over-fishing. Many local leaders were interviewed on this issue and i soon realised that the real victims of this rather sad occurrence were the fish, not the humans. So i tried to think of what could be going on at the bottom of the lake among the dwindling stocks of fish and i imagined anger and despair. This is the first of 3 meetings that am working on. I used a fire color scheme to depict the anger that could be burning everywhere among the fish stocks especially after a realisation that there's nothing they can do to sop the menace. Their only chance of survival is for the human who is causing their demise to regulate himself and at least stop the over-fishing. COMING SOON.. FISH MEETING 2 and 3
The above batik is titled NECKLACE TALK (2010) SOLD measuring 34x26 inches in size. I was inspired by hundreds of women necklace artists who come to sell their art at a weekly market where i also attend. They lay down their colorful merchandise on mats and in order to make an impression, they wear the necklaces themselves. Many of them are breast feeding mothers and it's interesting to hear them talk about the latest tricks of making necklaces, from my stall.
This one above is titled MARKET WOMEN (2010) with a size of 34x18 inches. In this batik i was continuing with my inclusion of detailed flower patterning in the dresses of my characters. Two months ago i noticed a row of shops selling "gomesi" dresses (a traditional dress common in Uganda) in downtown Kampala. What was so striking was the amount of flower patterning and color these dresses had. I noticed that this was a bit lacking in my work that i decided to start thinking of my original p…