Muleme Steven commonly referred to as Krest Lear was born and raised in Buikwe district- he is a proud and out gay visual artist whose dream is to change attitudes through his art.
After graduating from Nkumba in 201, he enrolled as a fine art teacher in school within Kampala where he remained for three years before the school administration discovered about his sexuality, quickly terminating his contract.
Without a stable source of income, Muleme narrates that life became a hustle as he struggled to put food on his table. During his teaching days, Muleme had established contacts within the LGBT community , now out of a job, he decided to join Youth on Rock Foundation, a community based organisation that focuses on LGBTI youth rights in the slums of Kampala. He then joined Rainbow Mirrors Uganda as a finance officer and served the organisation for one year. Muleme later started working as a community peer leader for Ice Breakers Uganda a role he still plays three years on.
“We have achieved a lot especially helping the grass root community members to access health and other related services,” Muleme commented.
Although he was now actively involved in various forms of advocacy work, Muleme never wanted to let his natural born talent of art go to waste- his dream is to tell stories that others never told through use of visual illustrations.
He decided to actively pursue this dream by setting up a website www.artmuleme.com, where he exhibits and sales different kinds of art pieces both for the local and international markets.
In the video below, Muleme talks about living in denial and his self acceptance, he also talks about dealing with stigma and expulsion from school. Muleme also opens up about the HIV stigma within the LGBT movement- he reveals that having lost his boyfriend, a number of people spread rumor that he was HIV positive, he calls this one of the toughest things he has ever had to deal with in his life.
In 2017, Muleme started Visual Echoes to share his skills with other community members that are interested in art. “I had always wanted to help my community and teach those interested in art other kinds of art that they don’t know. Most of Visual Echoes’ work will portray the real life experiences of LGBTI Ugandans through art,”-he told Kuchu Times
Visual Echoes will not only focus on art but also other programs like sports especially netball for members who have interest in this sport because Steven says many of these with the ‘passion for this sport have been denied the chance to take part in open tournaments.
Watch Muleme's full interview below to find out what drives him his plans for Visual Echoes.