Artist's Corner, Penina Acayu

Penina Acayu, graphic design and sculpture

“My whole series is inspired by the civil war in Uganda from 1986-2006. In my senior statement I talk about pilgrimage and how it’s not to change the world but to change oneself. So in ‘07 when I was about to go to college, my mother told me to go to the north part of Uganda where the war had happened to see where it had happened. No one wants to go to a place that just got out of a two-decade long war, but I decided still to see for myself. I saw massive places of land where it was once people’s houses and communities, and there was nothing. It was barren and all burnt down. There was nothing. Now everyone is in refugee camps. It’s one thing to see it on TV but to actually see the place and people made it real. At that point everything in me wanted to change the situation but I didn’t know how. So when I began the series, I wanted to use my art to have a voice to express how I felt and in a way, express the way the people in the refugee camps were feeling. After a while of soul searching for a symbol to use in my work, I landed on the idea of a key. In Uganda, a lot of times people see keys as not just a symbol of hospitality but also the willingness to heal and to let others come into their hearts and heal and restore what  they once had. I first cut out a perfect looking key, then I deconstructed it. I put the broken pieces together with beat-up copper. It means that when you get hurt by someone the scar never goes away, you don’t have to forget it but it doesn’t have to be everything.”

Liz Core
Written by Liz Core

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