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Sanaa Gateja

Sanaa Gateja (b. 1950, Kisoro, Uganda) makes intricate works from post-consumer paper that he rolls into beads, sewing them onto bark cloth supports in tapestry-like assemblages. Up close, the beads offer glimpses, between folds, of their past lives—as vintage posters, pages from wig sales pamphlets, and outdated textbooks, among other things. His distinctive method requires the involvement of members of his community, whom he has trained and employed since the early 1990s. Gateja envisions artists as agents for social, political, and environmental transformation, and art-making as an act of ecological  and spiritual repair. Disrupting conventional distinctions between figuration and abstraction, and two-dimensional work and sculpture, the resulting swirling, mosaic-like pieces instead draw affective connections between people and their surroundings. Gateja lives in Kampala, Uganda.

Gateja had his first American solo exhibition at Karma in 2023 and was included in the Carnegie International (2022). His works are held in museums and private collections worldwide including the Carnegie Museum, Pittsburgh; de Young Museum, San Francisco; Field Museum, Chicago; National Scottish Museum, Edinburgh; and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. He has exhibited at institutions and fairs including ARCOlisboa; Cape Town Art Fair; FNB Art Joburg, Johannesburg; Art Paris; AKAA Paris; Themes & Variations, London; and the Museum of Art and Design, New York.

Single work, Sanaa Gateja

Born 1950, Kisoro, Uganda
Lives and works in Kampala, Uganda

EDUCATION

Rhodec International Collage of Interior Design, Brighton, UK

International University of Art and Design, Florence, Italy

Tomazo Hashimoto Jewellery Studio, Florence, Italy

Camden Art Centre, London, UK

City of London Collage of Art and Design, London, UK

National Institute of Gemmology, Madagascar

SELECTED SOLO AND TWO-PERSON EXHIBITIONS

2023

Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, New Hampshire, Sanaa Gateja: Selected Works 

Karma, New York, Rolled Secrets

2022

Afriart Gallery, Kampala, Uganda, Radical Care

2020

Afriart Gallery, Kampala, Uganda, Playing to the Gallery

2012

French Cultural Centre, Nairobi, Kenya

KLA Art, Kampala, Uganda

2011

Diani Beach Hotel Gallery, Mombasa, Kenya

2010

MAD Museum of Art and Design, New York

2009

Baraka Gallery, Lamu, Kenya

2008

AfriArt Gallery, Kampala, Uganda

Baraka Gallery, Lamu, Kenya

2007

UNESCO Launches Backcloth as heritage. Solo artist NT KLA

Tulifanya Gallery, Kampala, Uganda

Baraka Gallery, Lamu, Kenya

TED Conference, Arucha Ngorodoto Lodge, Tanzania

2006
Mbari Institute, Washington D.C.
Sankaranka Gallery, New York
Novotel, Kigali, Rwanda
2005

Inganzo Art Gallery, Kigali, Rwanda

Novotel, Kigali, Rwanda

2004

Novotel, Kigali, Rwanda

Uganda National Museum, Kampala, Uganda

2003

Uganda National Museum, Kampala, Uganda

2002

Uganda National Museum, Kampala, Uganda

1999

Tulifanya Gallery, Kampala, Uganda

1998

Tulifanya Gallery, Kampala, Uganda

1996

Tulifanya Gallery, Kampala, Uganda

1994

Tulifanya Gallery, Kampala, Uganda

1993

Tulifanya Gallery, Kampala, Uganda

Ludwig Beck, Munich, Germany

1992

Ludwig Beck, Munich, Germany

1991

Nomo Gallery, National Art Gallery, Kampala, Uganda

Ludwig Beck, Munich, Germany

1990

Kenya National Museum, Nairobi, Kenya, with Kamal Shah

Innovations in Art, The National Cultural Center, Kampala, Uganda

1987

Residency, The Commonwealth Institute, UK

1980

Rowland Ward Gallery, Nairobi, Kenya

African Heritage Gallery, Nairobi, Kenya

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2023

Bemis Center For Contemporary Arts, Omaha, Nebraska, Neo-Custodians: Woven Narratives of Heritage, Cultural Memory, and Belonging, curated by Nneoma Ilogu

2022

Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, Is it morning for you yet?, The 58th Carnegie International

2019

Afriart Gallery, Uganda, Playing to the Gallery

2018

Hogan Lovells, London, No Room For Fear, co-curated by SMO Contemporary Art and the Black British Female Artists Collective (BBFA) 

2012

KLA Art, Kampala

2010

Museum of Art and Design, New York

2006

Murumbi Gallery, Kenya National Archive, Nairobi, Kenya

The Design Collage, Eindhoven, Netherlands

1996

Danish Chamber of Commerce, Copenhagen, Denmark

1990

Berlin International Trade Fair, Berlin, Germany

1986

The Round House Camden, London, UK

The Africa Centre Covent Garden, London, UK

1985

Royal Festival Hall, London, UK

PUBLIC COLLECTIONS

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Seattle, Washington
Carnegie Museum, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth Institute, London
Field Museum, Chicago
Fondation H, Paris
The Genocide Museum, Kigali, Rwanda
National Scottish Museum, Edinburgh
The Tropical Museum, Amsterdam
Uganda Museum collection, Kampala, Uganda
Victoria and Albert Museum, London

RESIDENCIES

1996

Namasagali Art Workshop by the British Council, England

1987-89

The Commonwealth Institute London, London, UK

1986

Deveron Arts, Huntly, Scotland

SELECTED WORK EXPERIENCE

1990

Founder, Kwetu Africa Art and Design Development Centre, Uganda

1986-89

Opened SAFARI STUDIOS, Silver and Goldsmith Workshop Studio, St. John Street, Islington, London

1972-78

Founder, Sanaa Gallery: The 1st Art Gallery in Mombasa, Kenya

1970

Manager, Uganda Crafts Pavilion Expo 70 for the Ministry of Culture and Community Development, Osaka Japan

1968-70

Assistant Crafts Officer, Ministry of Culture and Community Development, Uganda

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