Young Ugandans Train as Make-up Artists for the Film Industry

In a manner akin to an artist poised before a pristine canvas, Esther Nakaziba meticulously studies her subject before embarking on an extensive metamorphic journey. Armed with bandages and an array of tools, she skillfully molds her subject’s countenance into that of a veritable one-eyed individual marked by the ravages of a burn.

Hailing from Uganda, Nakaziba excels as a film makeup artist, adept at crafting a myriad of illusions from faux wounds to contusions, from swollen visages to decayed flesh, catering to the discerning tastes of film producers.

Having honed her craft through self-directed learning, Nakaziba notes a burgeoning influx of young Ugandans into the industry, spurred by the burgeoning demand from the burgeoning film and entertainment sectors.

Indeed, makeup artisans find themselves in high demand within the realms of music videos and cinematic productions, tasked with fashioning diverse visual landscapes and transforming the appearances of actors to suit the exigencies of the script.

She orchestrates a makeup artistry fair aimed at uniting talents from across the spectrum.

“In our country, our numbers are scarce, making it challenging to establish connections. Through this exhibition, we gather under one roof, fostering connections, imparting skills to the eager, and nurturing the next generation to forge a formidable team,” Nakaziba explains.

Meekness Kakunzira, a local content producer and actress, harbors optimism regarding the trajectory of makeup artistry in the nation.

“It’s heartening to witness our growth and evolution. Observers of our craft can discern a significant transformation within the industry,” Kakunzira reflects.

Concurrently, workshops are convened to acquaint individuals with the intricacies of the film and entertainment domain.

“These workshops hold immense potential to benefit many. In the acting realm, opportunities may not always abound, yet proficiency in SFX makeup opens doors. You might find yourself not on set as an actor, but rather as a makeup artist, particularly for the youth grappling with unemployment,” Kakunzira notes.

Having carved her niche in the local movie and music scene as a special effects (SFX) makeup artist, Nakaziba advocates for official recognition from the Ugandan government, positing that such acknowledgment could mitigate the prevailing high unemployment rates.

“In our nation, the arts often languish in obscurity, despite being a viable livelihood. Personally, it’s my sole source of income, and I believe any young person can thrive likewise. Collaborations with the government are imperative for our industry to be taken seriously,” Nakaziba emphasizes.

Historically, Uganda lacked indigenous film makeup artists, necessitating the outsourcing of services from other African regions and Hollywood. However, with the emergence of a burgeoning talent pool, this paradigm is shifting.

“Previously, blockbuster productions sought specialists primarily from the States or South Africa. Now, with the proliferation of African talent, Uganda, Nigeria, and Kenya are becoming sought-after destinations,” observes Grace Murema, a film makeup artist. “Thankfully, the landscape is diversifying.”


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