Back Button

The Journey of Sarah Nakisanze: Celebrating Traditional Art

In January 2021, The East African Magazine featured the extraordinary work of craft-designer and facilitator Sarah Nakisanze. This feature shed light on her remarkable exhibition, “My Granary, My Home,” which beautifully combined high fashion with traditional art, emphasising the importance of Social Sustainability. As we revisit this insightful feature, we invite you to join us on a journey through Sarah Nakisanze’s multi-faceted artistry realm that unveils the source of Easy Afric Designs’ authenticity.

A Display of Creativity and Tradition with Sarah Nakisanze

Sarah Nakisanze’s exhibition showcased five exquisite artefacts, each meticulously crafted from local materials like bark-cloth, cowrie shells, raffia fibres, and straws. What made these creations truly special was their focus on Social Sustainability—a dimension of Sustainable Development that emphasises the importance of valuable societal relationships and ecological sustenance systems.

According to Sarah Nakisanze, Social Sustainability is achieved through social ideas that foster societal welfare, including equity, wellbeing, social cohesion, participation, and sustainability awareness.

The Intersection of Art and Sustainability

“My Granary, My Home” graced the Makerere Art Gallery at Makerere University in Kampala from November 13 to 27, 2020, with a virtual opening ceremony held on November 12. Curated by Martha Kazungu, this exhibition and its accompanying publication delved into Nakisanze’s PhD research, demonstrating how haute couture serves as a tool for information dissemination Nakisanze’s journey involved collecting data from basket weavers in Kampala and Wakiso districts through observation and focus group discussions. This data was transformed into five haute couture artefacts, each representing a unique concept.

Equity with the Blossoming Headgear

One of these concepts was equity, representing society’s inclusive access to past traditions, thus, wisdom, knowledge, skills, and models of action from the past. Nakisanze beautifully portrayed this concept through a blossoming headgear composed of basketry ware, symbolising fruits on a tree reflecting the renowned “Tree of Life”. The design encapsulated the idea that past traditions continue to be a source of livelihood through generations, enriching society.

The Wellbeing Artefact

The wellbeing artefact was another masterpiece. Its top featured a traditional ‘mukeeka’ accessorised with ribbons imprinted with universal symbols of wellbeing resources, signifying elements like education, income, habitat, water, healthcare, clothing, and community integration. The bottom is made out of bark-cloth adorned with raffia. “The creation” resembles a containing garb, drawing parallels between a hut and granary—historical containers of valuables. The message conveyed was clear: “My Granary, My Home” represented basketry as a life-fulfilling practice, storing and providing for society.

Together It Lights: A Symbol of Social Cohesion

“Together It Lights” represented social cohesion within the traditional basketry practice in central Uganda. Nakisanze’s ability to capture these profound concepts in haute couture artefacts is a testament to her creativity and her commitment to sustainability.


As we remember this feature in The East African Magazine we applaud Sarah Nakisanze for her dedication to preserving cultural heritage through eco-fashion and art. Her journey reminds us of the power of creativity, sustainability, and the intersection of tradition and innovation for contemporary society.

Join us in celebrating Sarah Nakisanze’s artistry and commitment to social sustainability. Her work serves as an inspiration for all of us to think creatively, act sustainably, and preserve the cultural treasures that enrich our lives.

Back Button

Subscribe to our Newsletter