Sanaa Gateja Ugandan, b. 1950

Sanaa Gateja is a multi-disciplinary artist from Uganda, who studied as a goldsmith in London and whose works are a wonderful combination of installation, tapestry, and sculpture. Heavily influenced by the potters, blacksmiths, and basket weavers in his village where he grew up, Sanaa is a self-taught visual artist. Sanaa creates intricate works which reference indigenous art practices like weaving and stitching. A social commentator, Sanaa works with bark cloth, paper raffia, beads, wood and banana fiber to construct large textured artworks that respond to the subject of nature and materiality. Sanaa has showcased at ArtXLagos (2019, 2018), 1.54 African Art Fair (2019) FNB Johannesburg Art Fair (2016, 2017, 2018), AKAA Art Fair, Paris (2016, 2017, 2018).


A social commentator, Sanaa works with barkcloth, paper, raffia, beads, wood, and banana fiber to construct large artworks that respond to the subject of nature and materiality which is central in his work. His work straddles the categories of installation, tapestry, installation, and sculpture, and definitively is arresting in its monumentality, array of color and subject matter. The artist is particularly drawn to aesthetic and value in his work: creating a balance between what is visually attractive and original. Sanaa's art fits appropriately within the global consciousness of contemporary times that highly regards the environment and its preservation. This is because of his work ethic that involves working with organic and synthetic material. The paper bead, which he's mostly known for, and introduced in Uganda in 1990, not only responds to the subject of recycling but offers sustainable incomes to thousands of local women across the country.