Eclectic | London

Eclectic | London

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 103. SANAA GATEJA  |  AFRICAN SYMBOLISM.


Lot Closed

May 18, 02:43 PM GMT


3,000 - 5,000 GBP

Lot Details






signed and dated 2017 (on the reverse) 

paper beads on barkcloth

250 by 150cm., 98½ by 59in.

Please note: Condition 11 of the Conditions of Business for Buyers (Online Only) is not applicable to this lot

To view shipping calculator, please click here

Please note that this lot is located at Bond Street.

Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner

Sanaa Gateja is a mixed-media artist and jewellery designer who is widely known for his signature incorporation of recycled man-made waste materials in his practice, particularly his pioneering fashioning of beads from discarded paper, which earned him the nickname ‘The Bead King’ in Uganda. He also works with barkcloth, paper, raffia, wood and banana fiber, using his materials to construct large experimental abstract pieces of social and environmental commentary that straddle installation, tapestry and sculpture and strike a balance between aesthetic and conceptual value.

“When I make these paper beads in that particular shape, they look like Egyptian beads, the Egyptian tops the queens used to wear. And I have a feeling that our history, African history is hugely connected to Egypt, so through the bead, I’m trying to connect Africa to our ancestors. The bead trade was the biggest trade at one point in Africa because we wore them, we cherished them, it was wealth, a form of money, so beads were available in plenty. They are also used in our spiritual practices were they are tied around new born babies and counted.”

Gateja studied interior design in Italy and jewellery design at Goldsmiths in London. He has exhibited extensively across Africa as well as internationally, including at ARCOlisboa (2019); the Cape Town Art Fair (2017, 2018 & 2019); FNB Joburg Art Fair (2016, 2017 & 2018); Art Paris (2016); AKAA, Paris (2017);Themes & Variations, London (2016); and the Museum of Art and Design, New York (2010).

Sanaa Gateja is the founder of Kwetu Africa Art and Development Centre based in Lubowa, Kampala, Uganda. He started the centre 22 years ago to research, innovate, and create art using easily available materials. He trains mainly rural communities in skills using art to fight poverty. One of his unique contributions is the innovation of recycling paper into beads in 1990 at his Kwetu Africa Studio Kilembe in Western Uganda. The paper beads have spread throughout East African communities providing a livelihood to as many as 50,000 especially women and youth.