BY NICHOLAS OPOLOT Belinda Achola’s abstract painting, The Staircase of Fate, is a touching depiction of a mother’s love. Displayed at Tech Park during the fine art finalist students’ exhibition held from 3 to 5 August, the painting communicates a mother’s sacrifice for her child. Her rich imagination is evident on this medium- size portrait covered largely by a staircase and an inviting platform for the climber. And the staircase has indeed been used as there are footprints, albeit marked in blood, a testimony of the climber’s difficult journey. Many a mother goes through this struggle to give life to their child, and raise it. In the background there is a dark-brown, rough wall with a yellow opening of light, which looks like heaven’s gate. The light is bright to the viewer, and evokes warmth, reflecting the theme of redemption. The prominent darkness is overcome by the light of this struggle depicted in the night. I believe that this portrait is intended to give a sense of hope to the people who see it. This is indicated by the line of the composition, which draws the viewer’s eye upward, following the upward gaze of the subject. Moreover, the warm light seems to come from a source somewhere above the wall, and its strength easily absorbs the darkness, symbolic to faith. Does the darkness portray the challenges that mothers face in Uganda: the hunger, poverty, and sexual violence, among others? This work is successful because of the use of light, shape, texture, and lines all working together to pleasantly describe victory of hope and resilience over many challenges. The artist uses her skillful hand to paint a rich texture of oil on canvass.
Achola’s style is definitively expressionist. Her painting is well-balanced and holds the story together well, without confusion. She clearly understands everyday life struggles and her work gives society hope that they can overcome darkness and achieve a better future.