Michael Soi’s paintings are undeniably full of colour and life, but most of them also carry a story, a narrative of an African city where conventional ideas about the role of women collides with the reality of autonomy, independence, and power relationships at every level from the individual to the transnational. The titles of Soi’s paintings tell us a lot about modern urban life in Uganda’s capital – ‘Bachelor Party’, ‘China Loves Africa’, ‘Heaven Can Wait’, ‘Mi Vida, Mi Visa’ (My Life, My Visa), ‘The Teacher’s Lap’, ‘VIP Section’.
Michael Soi sets out his artist’s statement very clearly: ‘I want to create works that highlight the problems of women in Africa, especially problems related to how men see women here and how they treat them. For many people who look at my work, it is not an interesting subject, because they would rather not talk about it. They would rather bury their heads in the sand and pretend that such things do not exist. My work illustrates the role assigned to women as tools of pleasure, of enjoyment, and as a means to an end for men. My aim is to influence how men see and deal with women.’