In 2018, Lesli launched Mekeka Designs, a small bespoke studio that focuses on developing contemporary products and markets for Ugandan textiles. She was awarded a Fulbright Specialist Grant that supported her new initiative to connect and re-connect to textile specialists in Uganda.
Through partnerships with Fred Mutebi, and Josephine Mukasa and Pamela Kyagera of AKA Gallery, we began to connect to rural and urban based textile experts. Our goals were to meet with artisans and explore new contemporary designs with barkcloth and mikeeka (plaited palm).
By exchanging ideas and partnering together, we continue to find innovative answers to the cultural, social, and economic obstacles facing the artisans; and to do this through the lens of small business development.
Artisans partners include:
Bukomansimbi Organic Tree Farmers Association
Grace Cottage Weavers
Florence Nakachwa and her team