Most of these are painted illustrations for my master’s thesis in cultural anthropology (see short version), which is about motorcycle-taxi drivers in Kisoro district, Uganda, and how they experience various transformations taking place in their society. I stayed in and around the area for six weeks in 2017, doing interviews and participant observations. I also made a video with these paintings + some real footage/sounds from the area.
You can see zoomable full size images by clicking below an image when watching it.
Lost livelihoods: To promote wildlife tourism, people have been stopped from living, hunting and gathering in the large forests.
Tourist segregation: Many hope tourism will compensate for the loss, but so far, it employs few, and most tourists do not interact with locals very much.
Empty new roads: New asphalt roads, admired but mostly used by a few trucks bringing products for sale to richer inhabitants.
A substitute for industrialization? Local manufacturing is largely outcompeted by free trade and import of motorcycles which rich buy and rent out.
”Boda Boda” drivers: one of few new jobs in Kisoro district. Drivers often rent their vehicle from someone else, who can afford to buy it.
How locals move around: Boda Boda is a relatively cheap service which many locals now rely on when they need to go somewhere.
The last resort for many: Restricted hunting, impaired fishing and lack of industry led many to subsistence farming and low-paid service jobs.
Roads for ordinary people: New roads were not built where most locals live – many use dirt roads between their homes and their jobs.
Limited urbanization: While many people in the area say city life is the future, few can live in the district’s small town, since they depend on their farms.
Chaotic but free: The state stopped regulating transportation, making it unsafe but accessible, so people can commute to town.
Income addition: In town, market vending is a common part-time job for farmers, who often depend on Boda Boda transportation.
Out of reach: Mount Muhavura is a guide for navigation, but it also represents a national park few but tourists can afford to enter.
Inequality: Economic liberalization means money rarely trickles down – but the poor try to maintain hope anyhow.
Global inspiration, local limitation: International brands and imported budget phones spread dreams – but few opportunities to realize them.
Homes of the more fortunate: A few homes have higher standard, and owners often feel they must protect their possessions from thieves.
Homes for commoners: While many locals can afford the basics – clothes, food and roofs over their heads – they find it hard to go further.
Extreme competition: For drivers and most other informal service workers, increased competition means boredom and low incomes.
Waiting: Many service workers have business ideas but little capital. As employed, they must wait for customers, money, and better futures.
The window to the world: Foreigners visit Kisoro, but few locals can pay to travel. They might visit pubs to see the world through a TV.
The person to the left is supposed to be me and these are illustrations for my thesis in anthropology, based on interviews/observations I did in Kisoro in 2017.
New painting: A chat in the shine of a paraffin lamp
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