Meet Sparrow: The Artist Behind Uganda’s 1st Ever Street Art Festival

If you take a trip to the bustling city of Kampala in Uganda  you’ll find a lot of cool things: museums, a huge lake (Nalubaale / Lake Victoria), boda-boda motor taxis, and events on every night. The newest addition to the cool is AFRI-CANS Street Art Festival headed by Kampala-born and raised artist SPARROW.

Back in 2015, I met Sparrow when he was a part of a beatmaking workshop I taught as a part of the NEXT LEVEL Hip-Hop Diplomacy Program. By the end of the festival, I came to him to ask about the tag SPARROW that I had seen on a few walls while going through the city – since it was also the name of a beat he had saved during our class. When he revealed to me that he was the actual artist tagging the name, and has a huge passion for graffiti and street art culture.

Fast forward to today and Sparrow has trailblazed his way into evolving Kampala’s visual arts culture by organizing Uganda’s very 1st street art festival: AFRI-CANS. The festival brings together youth, djs, MCs and more in the city’s capital of Kampala for a day of creativity and peace using art as the guide.

We had a talk about some of SPARROW’s inspirations in art and music in his day to day journey, strengthening the arts community in East Africa. Check the words below.

What’s your story in 3 words? 

My story in 3 words is afri –  sparrow  – can.
How did you get your artist name? 
I got my artists name through an inspiration of movie character called capt jack sparrow (Johnny Depp) . I used to enjoy his character and his style in the movie and I decided to call myself sparrow in my world the art world and at first it was hard for to hold up my name on the streets because I was just beginning graffiti and other things, but after some time it became known and people started calling Sparrow .

Original flyer for this past weekend’s AFRI-CANS Street Art Fest.

What top 3 things do you need to get in the zone to create? 
-I need to a source of inspirations like hip-hop has been a source of my inspiration for most my artistic life, African culture.
-Music always music turn me on it is like cable connect to my world and I enjoy mostly old school hip-hop
-Materials and a nice wall also get me in the zone.
 
Name your favorite sound. 
 Wooo I like old school beats like Dr. Dre’s beats and others since am also a b.boy I enjoy breakbeats.
Earliest music memory?
When I taught to make beats from the one and only Suzi from Never Normal in the Next Level workshops in Uganda Africa I actually at first I thought I couldn’t make beats but a few days it became easy and easy

Favorite film? 
 ‘Notorious’ is my favorite.

Favorite city? 
My favorite is New York. I love the art, hip-hop, and the beauty.
Favorite color? 
 Yellow like the brightness of it.
What are your favorite studio snacks? 
 Rolex.
How does where you are from influence your art? 
 It influences in a way that I always use the local things so that I can be unique from other artists and also gives me a chance to discover a lot.
What are some challenges you face building your vision? 
I face challenges like getting some equipment and materials. Sometimes it is too expensive to afford art supplies.
On a scale of 1-10, how normal are you?

6

What does it mean to you to be ‘Never Normal’?
It means I have the capacity to live my life and be what I want…..Sparrow.
What do you want the world to know about you?
I am Sparrow and I represent monk256, Breakdance Project Uganda (Africa) and basically, I am graffiti artist, b-boy, beatmaker, photographer and an emcee / a hip-hop teacher.
See more photos from AFRI-CANS and learn more about the movement here:https://www.facebook.com/africansstreetart/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *