Sanaa Gateja (Ugandan, born 1950)
Home Estate, 2017
Paper beads stitched on bark cloth with raffia
157.5 cm in diameter
Provenance: direct from the artist through Afriart Gallery
Artist, designer and jeweller, Sanaa Gateja’s practice is centred around a conscious and collaborative relationship with material and production. One of Gateja’s unique innovations is making beads from recycled paper, which he then uses to create designs varying from embroidered wall panels to immersive installations. Through the Kwetu Africa Art and Development Centre, which Gateja founded in Kampala in 1989, the skills-based training and production of these beads has spread across East Africa, empowering thousands of craftspeople.
After working within the Ugandan Ministry of Culture and Community Development from 1968-72, Gateja moved to Mombasa where he opened the Sanaa Gallery, exhibiting traditional art forms of Kenya. In 1982, Gateja left for Europe where he first trained in jewellery design in Italy and then continued his studies in the UK, graduating from the London College of Art and Design in 1985. Over the following years in London he participated in exhibitions such as New Horizons, Southbank Centre, 1985; The Home Coming, Africa Centre, Covent Garden, 1986; and was artist-in-residence at the Commonwealth Institute in 1987.
Gateja returned to his native Uganda in the late 1980s where he continues to work and exhibit. In 1989, Gateja held the opening exhibition for the African Heritage’s new gallery at Libra House in Nairobi. His work was showcased in the ground-breaking exhibition The Global Africa Project, Museum of Art and Design (MAD), New York, 2010.