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Ugandan Artist Draws Attention to Vitiligo

It was a confrontation with a female Michael Jackson fan that first drew Martin Senkubuge’s attention to the skin condition vitiligo. Senkubuge, who was studying industrial fine art and design at Makerere University at the time, had not heard of the disease. The 22-year-old was shocked to discover the stigma that surrounds vitiligo in Uganda and across east Africa, and how people with the condition were treated. Senkubuge decided he would use his art to educate people about the condition. “Since art is associated with beauty, I said to myself I would draw pictures and models of persons with vitiligo to break this stigma,” he says. He managed to secure a small grant of about $560 from the nonprofit Goethe-Zentrum Kampala (Uganda German Cultural Society) to hold an exhibition. In July it finally opened in Kampala. “It was so fulfilling,” he says. “Despite all the Covid-19 related restrictions, many people turned up. And I am sure those who attended the exhibition now know something about vitiligo.