Shipping Art Internationally – From Uganda To Your Doorstep!
Shipping art internationally can be a nightmare. Artworks are often fragile and large, which brings along high costs. Nevertheless, we were super excited when we recently sold “Camouflage”. Camouflage is an original painting made by Ronex Ahimbisibwe! Ronex is an amazing artist from Kampala, Uganda and posted his artworks on accessART a while ago. He did this to reach more European buyers and expand his audience.
After facilitating international sales from France and Israel to the Netherlands, and from the Netherlands to Switzerland, the UK and the USA, this was the first time an artwork from Africa was sold. With a buyer from the Netherlands, the artwork had to travel 10.000 kilometres. Shipping art internationally is always a challenge. But we were excited to get the artwork safely from Uganda to the Netherlands!
We are often asked whether buying art online is safe, especially internationally. That’s why are writing this blogpost to walk you through the process. So join us on the journey of this artwork, from Uganda to the Netherlands 🙂 .
Uganda Express. The start of a journey
The story started a couple of months ago, when accessART found the great artworks by Ronex Ahimbisibwe. Believe it or not, we stumbled upon Ronex on Instagram! We approached Ronex and he immediately signed up with accessART. In Uganda, Ronex is a pretty famous artists but it’s not always easy for artists to reach an audience outside of their home country. After a couple of months, we helped Ronex sell the painting “Camouflage”. We were so excited! It’s a great feeling to help an artist reach a new audience and even convert this into a sale.
As all artists selling internationally know, packing and shipping art internationally is not easy. So you can imagine our interest in the process of getting an artwork from the Republic of Uganda, a country in East-Africa, to its buyer in the Netherlands.
Packing an artwork safely
Camouflage is a collage with hints of acyrilic paint. The artwork is quite large: 120cm by 70cm. Imagine the shipping costs for such an artwork when on its stretcher! Luckily for all parties involved, this artwork had been made in such a way that it could be taken off the stretcher and rolled up. Camouflage was carefully taken off the stretcher and rolled in a large and sturdy tube. This way, it was completely protected for its journey!
Shipping art internationally from Uganda to the Netherlands
Then it was time for Ronex to head to the postal office in Kampala. The artwork was shipped with EMS and all parties were provided with a tracking number. These days, it’s standard when shipping art internationally to have a tracking number. In addition, this made it even more fun to follow the journey from Uganda to the Netherlands!
Amsterdam! Welcome to Europe Camouflage
All in all, it took roughly 2 weeks for the artwork to arrive to our office. The excitement was unbelievable when the postman rang the doorbell and informed us that there is a package for us. All the way from Uganda! Camouflage had finally arrived to Netherlands. Opening the tube felt like opening a present on a Christmas Eve! 🙂 As soon as we received the tube we were extremely curious! How would the artwork look after such a long journey?
We were absolutely speechless when we got the painting out of the tube! Ronex Ahimbisibwe has made a magnificent artwork. Especially the details caught our eye. The great thing with collages and mixed-media painting is that every time you look at it, you see something new. Ronex Ahimbisibwe has used several newspaper articles to make this artwork. You are able to see many languages (it is estimated that Uganda has 40 languages), so we were not able to identify which ones were there besides English!
Let’s get the painting stretched!
As the painting arrived to Amsterdam in a tube, the next step was to get it stretched. But, we soon discovered that because it’s August, this was not so easy. The company providing the stretchers was on holiday, so it was quite the quest to find a company that could help us. After various phone calls we found a great framing company (Bert Faas Lijstenmaker) that could help us quicky, with high quality and for a fair price – and who was not on holidays! 😉
The stretching process started with adjusting the canvas frame, sometimes referred also a stretcher bar. After making the needed adjustments it was time to put it on canvas, stable it firmly and insert the string to hang it on the wall. Last finishing touches of hammer and Camouflage is ready to be packed and sent back to us. Now we just had to wait untill the happy new owner of Camouflage would pick the work up and hang it on the wall!
Usually when you buy an artwork at accessART, the artwork is directly send to the customer. You definitely don’t have to live in Amsterdam to be able to buy a painting through the platform :-). Because we were curious to the process of packing art, shipping art internationally and stretching it, we assisted the buyer this time.
Happy customers make happy entrepreneurs as they say. Or if it is not a saying yet, it definitely should be! Because there is nothing better than bringing together a person looking for art with a talented artist 🙂
Ronex Ahimbisibwe, the artist!
“Art is not just a profession to me but my refuge and comfort …without it I seem lost” – Ronex Ahimbisibwe Ronex Ahimbisibwe is very successful artist from Kampala, Uganda. He has been exhibiting all over the world in for example in England, the USA, France, Norway, Kenya and Egypt. Ronex Ahimbisibwe has been also mentioned to be one of the top 10 Contemporary Artists’ of Uganda. He uses variety of mediums while making art such as paintings, sculptures and woodcut prints. Ronex Ahimbisibwe’s art is dealing with themes that are often controversial in Ugandan society like homosexuality, nudity and corruption.