MOTHER NATURE, THE MASTER ARTIST, ON SHOW
Award-winning Ugandan-born nature photographer Matthias Mugisha in collaboration with the Sheraton Kampala Hotel is holding an exhibition of his photographs of birds in the wild. The exhibition, titled
opened to the public on November 15, and will run till January 14, 2019.
The show is co-sponsored by Nature Uganda, the Uganda Wildlife Authority, Uganda Tourism Board, Nation Media Group, Uganda Broadcasting Corporation, and Snap Uganda Tours.
More than 200 pictures were selected for the exhibition but less than 40 are on show. Some of the picture at the exhibition have been artistically enhanced by celebrated Ugandan artist David Kibuuka. The ull range of Mugisha's pictures are in the exhibition book
while others will be published in his forthcoming
Mugisha is famous for tracking down birds endemic to Uganda in their natural habitat for days on end just to get the perfect shot. Some of the birds he has caught on camera are the Grey-crowned Crane (Uganda's national bird), Lesser Flamingo, Shoebill, Grey-headed Sparrow, African Thrush, Red-throated Bee-eater, Brown-throated Wattle-eye, White-tailed Blue-fly Catcher, White-throated Bee-eater, Village Weaver, White-ellied Go-away-bird, Papyrus Gonolek, White-crested Helmet Shrike, Black-headed Heron, African Skimmer, and Red-pate Cisticola.
Uganda has 50 per cent of Africa's bird species and 11 per cent of the global population, with over 1,060 species so far recorded in the country. “In my 18 years of photography I have managed to get 500 bird species in Uganda on camera,” Mugisha says. “Despite this,” Mugisha observes, “most Ugandans are not aware of the tourism potential in birding and the importance of birds to our environment.”
Mugisha has won several awards in the annual Uganda Press Photo Award competitions including the 2012 edition. He won the Overall and Third prizes in the News Single category, and Second position in the Environment category.
He has held exhibitions in Uganda and his pictures have been shown abroad.
His public profile on the website of the National Geographic website, sums up his love for the camera: “I like being around nature. I like all creatures, big and small for they show me the hand of Mother Nature as the master artist. Without my camera, there is no need to live,” his statement reads.
The biggest challenge in nature photography, says Mugisha, is that nobody takes you seriously. Few people can comprehend an adult sitting in a hide for hours waiting for a certain bird to show up.
‘‘I have been arrested twice. My camera was mistaken for a gun in a swamp near Katosi in Mukono district of Kampala. The villagers thought I was a rebel. I was busy shooting and they threw a hunting net around me. I was saved by the police whom the villagers had told I was a rebel.'
‘‘The second time, a landowner in Gayaza thought I was surveying his land. I was arrested by a mob on suspicion of being a land grabber. I was saved when I showed them a book on nature I had published for my photo exhibition at the Kampala Serena Hotel in 2012 to commemorate 50 years of Uganda's Independence.''
Mugisha's pictures were used by the Uganda Tourism Board to adorn the VIP Lounge at the Entebbe International Airport.
Mugisha holds a Diploma in Photography from the Asian Academy of Film and Television in Noida, India.