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13 of 19 photos

Title: Just Kidding (Around) / Year 2020 / Medium: Mixed media on canvas / Dimensions: 52” x 38”

This was inspired by my godson, Tyler, and by all of the kids who because of the pandemic have been robbed of their play time with their friends. I can’t imagine myself as a 5 year-old not being able to see my friends for almost 2 years other than some random virtual calls. While I was painting this, I was actually reminded of my childhood memories when everything was so simple back then. How running around the hills in the village, while steering an old motorcycle tire with a piece of wood, brought me so much joy. I started working on this painting at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020 and finished it in December 2021 when I was depressed to realize that my school in Uganda had been shutdown for almost 2 years because of the pandemic. I couldn’t help but think of the dire situation where the kids, who would have been learning and playing with their classmates, have instead been just staying at home. The voice in my head pushed me to finish this painting in honor of these children. FYI, I built the school in 2014 as a gift to the wonderful people in this village. They took care of me when I got lost while backpacking by myself in Uganda in 2012 after completing a medical mission trip and I ended up in their remote village. The construction was fully funded by my art and we have been operating since 2015. Currently with 70 kids under our care and 4 teachers, and one cook who makes hot meals 3 times a day (Monday through Friday) for all the kids. The school is financially sustained 70% by my art work and 30% by gifts from friends and family. What started as a crazy idea turned into a this place that provides quality education, safe learning environment and nutrition to these beautiful children. Note: Minus the gallery commission, the sale of this art work will be entirely donated to my school in Kengoma, Uganda to help build solar power for the school.