Arena for Contemporary African, African-American and Caribbean Art

Sanaa Gateja (b. 1950, Kisoro, Uganda)



Sanaa Gateja (b. 1950, Kisoro, Uganda)

Look Over Yonder, 2020




He 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the beads offer glimpses, between folds, of their past lives—as vintage posters, pages from wig sales pamphlets, and outdated textbooks, among other things.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.

Installation view of the 58th Carnegie International: Is it morning for you yet?, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh (September 24, 2022-April 2, 2023), featuring works by Sanaa Gateja

Is it morning for you yet?, 

NOURISHMENT, Gateja’s first solo exhibition in Los Angeles, is currently on view at Karma through May 18th. 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.
This spring, Gateja will participate in the Ugandan Pavilion curated by Acaye Kerunen at the 60th Venice Biennale.