Theresa Musoke (Ugandan, born 1944)
Untitled, 1990s
Signed ‘Theresa Musoke’ (lower right)
Mixed media on canvas
117 x 88.9 cm
Ksh 395,000 – 510,000
(US$) 3,500 – 4,500
Provenance: direct from the artist

Best known for her expressive, semi-abstract portrayals of the region’s abundant wildlife, Theresa Musoke is one of Uganda and East Africa’s foremost artists. Her suggestive paintings merge the forms and movements of animals with their environments, developing from a process that involves dying canvas then responding with acrylic and oil paint to the forms suggested by the dye-stains until they resolve into a unified composition.

Musoke’s work first began to receive attention while she was an undergraduate student at the Margaret Trowell School of Fine Arts in Kampala, where she won the Margaret Trowell Painting Prize in 1965 and had a solo show at the Uganda Museum. After receiving her BA, Musoke worked for some time as an art teacher before receiving a scholarship to study for a postgraduate diploma in printmaking at the Royal College of Art in London. Following this, she went on to complete an MFA at the University of Pennsylvania.

Musoke has been a highly influential figure in Kenyan and Ugandan art, not only for her celebrated visual practice, but also as a teacher. After completing her studies, Musoke returned to Kampala where she taught at Makerere University, before relocating to Nairobi in 1976. She lived in Kenya for over 20 years and taught at different institutions including the University of Nairobi, Kenyatta University, the International School of Kenya, and Kestrel Manor School. Throughout this time Musoke exhibited frequently in local galleries such as Paa Ya Paa, Gallery Watatu and the African Heritage House. She facilitated numerous informal artist workshops. Musoke currently lives in Kampala, where she continues to create art. This year her work was featured in the travelling group show Mwili Akili na Roho, at The Royal Academy, London and Haus Der Kunst, Munich.

This exquisite painting of long-necked antelopes was made while Musoke was in Germany, in the 1990s.