Uganda Innovates

MatatArt, an innovation promoting access to arts for children in Kampala

Meet MatatArt, a flexible tool becoming a regular minivan being used to generate a joyful interaction with the surrounding environment and an attractive transformation of the urban space.

“Our bespoke vehicle will transform any space making it suitable for performing a wide variety of art based activities.” Susan Tusabe, the Literacy Advocate at MatatArt says.

MatatArt therefore, is a mobile all-in-one structure that delivers art to children’s doorstep even in places where there is little infrastructure, equipment, services or facilities.

The MatatArt team wanted to create something able to attract the children of the slums and, through the Arts show them beauty, joy and wonder. (Photo by MatatArt)

The MatatArt team wanted to create something able to attract the children of the slums and, through the Arts show them beauty, joy and wonder. (Photo by MatatArt)

How MatatArt started

None of the founders can actually remember the exact moment when MatatArt came to life.

Every one of them has probably always been carrying inside the idea and the feelings of MatatArt. When life brought the three of them together, in Kampala, the idea was ready to be born and started to absorb every moment and thought of them.

MatatArt is the result of an unstoppable and overwhelming flow of ideas, images, sounds and colors that captured the founders and attracted everyone who was coming close to the idea. The potential of the project and the enthusiasm of the trio became so   contagious that friends and colleagues were willing to take part to the development of the project.

The team was moving from the concept of the ice-cream man moving around the city’s neighborhoods by bicycle, attracting swarms of children with an unmistakable melody. They wanted to create something able to attract the children of the slums and, through the Arts show them beauty, joy and wonder.

Susan, Francesco, Maria and all their friends believe that Arts represent the occasion to change something ordinary into something extraordinary, to enrich the quality of everyone’ lives, to develop effective ways of expressing thoughts, knowledge and feelings, finding innovative solutions. A major limitation to the children’ development in Uganda is the lack of services and activities such as libraries, art galleries and music halls. The ice-cream man does not wait for the children to come to him, he reaches out to them. So why not bring culture to the children?!

How MatatArt works

 

The team replicated the bicycle in a unique elaboration of a “matatu”, the most common means of transportation in Kampala, and the ice creams in hundreds of books, colors and songs.

MatatArt chooses to deliver Arts to the children’s doorstep even in places where there is little infrastructure, equipment, services or facilities, being a mobile all-in-one structure itself. With its innovative approach, MatatArt produces a joyful transformation of the surrounding environment, making any space suitable for performing art based activities, in order to entertain and engage children and communities.

The project involves a wide network of organizations, artists and professionals to ensure the sustainability of the project and a variety of activities and events to enrich MatatArt’ sessions.

MatatArt is a flexible tool to enrich children with Visual Art, Literature and Music but also to address sensitive issues and problems (HIV, environment, sanitation, etc.) with ad hoc sessions. The project is planning to reach, with just one vehicle, an estimated number of 6.300 children during its first year of activity, searching for evidences about the behavioral change obtained by the children through an exposure to art-based activities.

A 3D illustration of the MatatArt interior. (illustration by MatatArt)

A 3D illustration of the MatatArt interior. (illustration by MatatArt)

The Future

The Team believes that MatatArt should be everywhere! They imagine many MatatArt vehicles with different designs and colors moving around every town of Uganda and, why not, reaching the children from all over the world.

Like this story? Or have something to share? Write to us: info@thisisuganda.org, or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter (@thisisuganda_).

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