Fred Mutebi was born in Bukomansimbi, Masaka district, in 1967 and went to the oldest art school in the East African region, Margaret Trowell School of Industrial and Fine Art, Makerere. Here he qualified in Painting and printmaking. It is his 2003 Fullbright Scholarship as a scholar in residence in Memphis, Tennessee USA that had a lifetime impact on his art career.
With exposure to diverse cultures in the US, Mutebi, a master in wood-cut printmaking was provoked to include the concept of indigenous art practice in his art. This subject of indigenous elements, alongside research on the same topic, has since dominated his artistic process where he works with barkcloth as a metaphor for local art. The artist in his work is always probing the question: What is indigenous and is there a nexus between art and craft? In all this, the artist is trying to ascertain and often times respond to the complex question of the position of art, but also the individual, from the continent, within the global sphere.
This narrative inevitably makes him a community artist responding to the political, economic and social aspects of everyday life. His subjects on barkcloth canvas are human figures that evoke an aspect of familiarity to the public. They represent diverse narratives on issues of social-political injustices, and wildlife preservation and sustainability. The social critic artist through his work also bargains for the sustainability of raw –materials (barkcloth) and skills development that are essential to the overall socio-economic development of his community. Through such an approach, Mutebi, a storyteller, is able to create art beyond the cliché art for art’s sake, but instead art for community change.
Fred Mutebi has exhibited at Afriart gallery, Kampala among other solo and group exhibition across the world.