Art | UN Secretary-General Attends Exhibition Showcasing Uganda Art In New York
UN Headquarters, New York — Welcome to this wonderful exhibit. I thank all of the distinguished officials and artists who join us today. I especially thank His Excellency Sam Kutesa, President of the General Assembly, for his leadership over the past year.
These powerful images show Uganda’s natural treasures. They speak directly to why the world needs Agenda 2030 – our bold new vision for sustainable development.
Tourism is a major force in the global economy that can promote respect for the environment. More than one billion tourists crossed international borders last year.
This exhibit shows the beauty of wildlife and nature. It reminds us of our sacred responsibility to preserve the environment as a legacy to future generations.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I visited Uganda several times. My best memory was not in a meeting room – it was on the football field.
President Museveni and I played a friendly match for war victims. I was on the Justice team and he was on the Dignity team. Of course, justice and dignity go hand-in-hand so we were fighting for the same goals.
I count on Uganda to continue supporting the United Nations as we promote peace, development and human rights in the country and the world.
Source — UN Secretary General’s Press Office, Photo appears courtesy of the Executive Director — UWA.
A 3-day Exhibit showcasing Uganda was opened on from 9th to 11th September 2015 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
Organized in collaboration with the Ugandan Minister of Tourism, Wildlife & Antiquities and the Uganda Tourism Board, the Exhibit was entitled “Uganda, the Pearl” under the auspices of H.E. Mr. Sam Kahamba Kutesa, President of the sixty-ninth session of the General Assembly. Hon. Dr. Maria Emily Lubega Mutagamba, Uganda’s Minister of Tourism also addressed guests.
Featured in the exhibition were paintings by Stephen Gwoktcho, sculptures of Uganda’s Wildlife by American sculptor Bart Walter, Batik work by Nuwa Wamala Nnyanzi and photographs of Ugandan culture by D. Nsereko. The paintings in the exhibition portrayed some aspects of wildlife and the beautiful cultural diversity of Uganda. The gradual and diverse geographical features, from semi-arid, through grassland savannah to the thick equatorial rain forests, as nature would dictate, is like the color gradation on the artist’s palate.
In his welcome remarks, Amb. Richard, Nduhuura, Permanent Representative of Uganda to the UN stated that this was the first time that Uganda had exhibited at the United Nations Headquarters. He noted that Uganda’s Foreign Minister, Hon. Sam Kutesa as 69th President of the General Assembly, had leveraged Uganda’s tourism potential through his good offices by ensuring that such an auspicious occasion could take place in the presence of various dignitaries, including senior officials of the United Nations.
H.E. Sam Kutesa, President of the 69th session of the UN General Assembly informed the audience that at the United Nations, the General Assembly has long recognised the importance of wildlife and its contribution to sustainable development among communities. He reminded them of the General Assembly decision to proclaim March 3rd of each year as World Wildlife Day. Under his presidency, the Assembly had gone on to adopt a landmark resolution on tackling illicit trafficking in wildlife.
He recognized these two resolutions as “a reminder of the need to protect both wildlife and its natural habitat as vital components of our larger objectives of poverty eradication and sustainable development”.
“As forest cover around the world continues to dwindle, the existence of mountain gorillas and elephants, for example, is threatened as we invade their natural habitats. We must work collectively to protect our planet and the animals that inhabit it. Efforts must be taken at all levels – national, regional and international – to combat illicit trafficking and trade in wildlife” he said.
In her statement to the audience, Hon. Mutagamba emphasized that of the countries that are home to silver-back mountain Gorillas, Uganda boasts of 54% of the population. She added that this endangered and yet friendly primate species is poised to be one of the biggest tourist attractions in Uganda. The choice of Dr. Gwoktcho’s silver-back Gorilla and Elephant paintings was to emphasize that Uganda has a stake in the loss of wildlife’s natural habitat. Uganda remains resolute to protect the Mountain Gorilla and the African Elephant among other animal varieties. She invited all present to visit Uganda and experience the situations that inspired the artists.
According to Artist Stephen Gwoktcho, “The Elephant as a subject of art and art depiction dates back to the pre-historic era evidenced by the rock paintings of which tourism sites like Ngero Rock Paintings (Uganda) are known for. Uganda’s conservation drive through these paintings is addressing a crisis of global magnitude which if not attended to will deprive Uganda and the entire world of her natural and wildlife heritage”.
Uganda’s submission to the United Nations community through the cultural batiks and photographs of Nuwa Nnyanzi and D. Nsereko was that as a country gifted by nature, our tourism flavor, the hospitality of our people and the rich cultural diversity is second to none.
Two larger than life Chimpanzee sculptures which form part of Bart Walter’s “The Troupe” were graciously loaned to the Exhibition by Maryland sculptor Bart Walter and shipped from the Chattanooga Zoo where they are permanently on display. The story of the pieces depicts a mother and child and teenage chimpanzee as part of a social structure that we can easily identify with as humans. Bart Walter travels all over the world to observe wildlife as subjects for his sculptures. He followed chimpanzees in Uganda’s Kibale forest and sculpted the Silverback Gorilla at the Uganda Wildlife Authority Headquarters in Kampala. He also loaned the exhibition 6 other priceless works of art featuring a cheetah hunting an antelope and its baby, a rhino, a Giraffe family, a herd of “nkofu” (guinea fowl) and a family of elephants.
The exhibition was curated by Mr. Allan Buchman and set up by Mr. Laszlo Moresz and Mr. Doug Collins. The exhibit was officially marked by a cocktail/reception on September 10th 2015. As per standard practice, the President of the General Assembly invited through UN Protocol Service, all 193 Member States, all Non-member States and Entities as well as International Organizations Observer States and UN Officials.
In his remarks, Mr. Ban stated that he was “truly honored to take part in this event and grateful to President Kutesa and Minister Mutagamba for the invitation. Uganda, the Pearl – an exhibit showcasing Tourism and Wildlife, is a noteworthy reminder of what a truly sustainable industry is.” Secretary-General Ban added that in Uganda and many other countries across the world, tourism employs millions of people across the world. It generates income and lifts communities out of poverty. With its remarkable expansion and resilience, tourism has become one of the most important economic sectors, accounting for almost half of all exports in services in the developing world. It is an increasingly important factor in the global economy.
The UN Secretary-General told the audience which included UN Ambassadors and senior Secretariat staff that their presence and that of artists and creative people at the event attested to the importance of tourism as transformative sector for the achievement of a more sustainable world. He called upon governments to continue to protect the environment with more determination; otherwise, the future of tourism as a promising industry and a factor of growth could be in jeopardy. Hundreds of millions of people travel all over the world as tourists and more than one billion tourists crossed international borders.
He pledged the United Nations’ readiness to shoulder common efforts, in coordination with the World Tourism Organization, the UN specialized agency for tourism, so that tourism continues to change our lives, bringing us together –not only as a global community, but also as builders of the better world we all want for us and our grandchildren.
“As we admire beautiful rivers and lakes, as we look at the peak or superb mountains, as we witness the grace of elephants of primates, as we marvel at the speed of the Cheetah, we should not relent in protecting all these species and our environment –a sacred legacy we must hand over to future generations.” He said.
Also in attendance were Ambassador Patrick Mugoya, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Dr Stephen Asiimwe, CEO of the Uganda Tourism Board and Dr Andrew Seguya Executive Director of the Uganda Wildlife Authority, a delegation from the Tourism Sector in Uganda and representatives of the Africa Travel Association in New York.
PERMANENT MISSION OF UGANDA TO THE UN