The Ugandan embassy in Washington DC on Saturday, May 7, 2022, opened its doors during Passport DC which runs from May 1 through 31 offering an outstanding array of cultural activities presented at embassy open houses, street festivals, performing arts venues, museums, and special receptions throughout the district.
This year, guests were treated to culture, food, arts, crafts and a show of talent and ingenuity for interactive cultural exchanges.
The Embassy exhibited the giant Ankole Cowhorns and their by-products as well as art pieces made using Ugandan Barkcloth, an endangered natural textile, at the University of DC Dennard Plaza, 4200 Connecticut Avenue NW.
#DYK that Barkcloth can be bleached & dyed using natural compounds? Many lessons about the incredible natural versatile textile, made from the beaten bark of a mutuba tree w/ 700 year-old technology. Anything that you can do with cotton and leather, you can do with #Barkcloth pic.twitter.com/rkm0SQkdMa
— Uganda | USA (@UgaEmbaWashDC) May 7, 2022
“We had an amazing time at the @DCculture #EmbassyOpenHouse this afternoon. Showcasing Uganda’s sustainable art, culture and tourism, our contribution to the #SDGs,” the embassy tweeted.
Barkcloth can be bleached and dyed using natural compounds. Many lessons about the incredible natural versatile textile, made from the beaten bark of a mutuba tree with 700-year-old technology.
“Anything that you can do with cotton and leather, you can do with Barkcloth. The Mutuba tree from which the bark is harvested re-grows its bark and can be harvested for 60 years? That it holds water in its trunk during the wet season and releases water into the ground around it during the dry season?” the embassy noted.
In Uganda, the Ankole Long-horned cattle with their massive horns have given us a natural bio-degradable alternative to plastic. Ugandan creatives make art, jewelry, accessories and household items out of it #circularfashion #Ecotextiles #Sustainability @DCculture pic.twitter.com/90p2ncZQqe
— Uganda | USA (@UgaEmbaWashDC) May 8, 2022
It added: “In Uganda, the Ankole Long-horned cattle with their massive horns have given us a natural bio-degradable alternative to plastic. Ugandan creatives make art, jewelry, accessories and household items out of it.”
Warship made out of wires “steals the show”
The highlight of the day was the showcase of a 34-foot work of art, a show-stopping model warship built entirely from wire by Mr. Ronald Nnam, a Ugandan artist.
“We also exhibited a 34ft wire model battleship built by Ugandan national Ronald Nnam. Ronald, like many Ugandan kids, grew up making his own wire toy push cars and bicycles,” the embassy further revealed.
Ronald, like many Ugandan kids, grew up making his own wire toy pushcars & bicycles. He kept on challenging himself until he built a model 34 ft battleship out of wire, recycled & repurposed materials. He spent 5 yrs working on it. The moving parts use batteries. #STEMmeetsART pic.twitter.com/4o4lm8IbJZ
— Uganda | USA (@UgaEmbaWashDC) May 7, 2022
“He kept on challenging himself until he built a model 34 ft battleship out of wire, recycled and repurposed materials. He spent 5 years working on it. The moving parts use batteries.”
Margaret Kafeero, Minister-Counsellor in charge of Public Diplomacy, said Ronald started by making wire cars and bicycles as a kid.
“He just kept increasing the size and details of the toys. To visualize the length of this model, it is about the length of a one-bedroom apartment wall to wall.”
He has batteries that he connects to small motors. All the moving parts move, the chopper blades rotate and so do the simulated sensors and satellite dishes. And he used recycled materials etc, Kafeero explained.
“The most amazing thing about Ronnie’s model ship is that he has no paper drawings or measurements. He envisions the dimensions in his head from looking at internet photos and then cuts the estimated length of wire and builds.”
She said the warship had to be disassembled into six parts in order to move it to the venue.
“Imagine what it looks like in one piece. In Uganda, children ingenuously make their own toys, model cars and bicycles from bits of wire, empty cans and rubber. Using this same skill, learned in childhood, Ronald has kept designing bigger and bigger pieces until over a 5-year period, this 34-foot masterpiece has come to life under his hands,” Kafeero noted.
Washington DC Mayor, Muriel Bowser, said Cultural Tourism DC Inc. and its affiliates formed Passport DC, which honors the diversity of cultural influences in the district by providing multiple opportunities for residents and visitors to enjoy all that DC has to offer.
Passport DC celebrates the month of May with international cultural events aimed at encouraging residents and visitors to learn more about our global community.
The events held in May include more than 60 embassies opening their doors to visitors during the “Around the World Embassy Tour” and the “European Union Open House”.
This year marks the 15th since the inception of Passport DC.