contemporary east african art


Felix Magima

Country: Uganda

Style: Semi-Abstract

Medium: Acrylic on Canvas

Fun Fact: Such an art form is also rooted in the caricature and parody of the recent decades, which have seen visual artists struggle with representing their commentary due to a fear of the governments in place.

This voice has come to translate into a very interesting—although sometimes childish-looking—visual language which dominates the batik form, characterized by two-dimensional human figures, animals, and the very stereotypical African village and “African sunset”.


“One time I was dating this (Norwegian) girl, and she said that she didn't want to have children. And I had to ask myself what now? Maybe I need to find a way out of this (relationship)!”


1. Fertile Woman

2. Home

3. Divided Temple

4. Nation

5. Waiting at the Door

6.In The Name of God

7. Far From Home


Nadir Tharani

Country: Tanzania

Style: Expressionist

Medium: Ink on paper

Fun Fact: He’s also an architect


All the paintings and poems, the short and long stories, the songs and melodies, all the seminars, meetings and workshops this year and the next and the year after, all this preening and prodding will not change the world.


A series of drawings on the arbitrary detention, harassment, beating, torture, rape and imprisonment of those who are seen as not conforming to the strictures of power – from fruit hawkers, children at school, voters, passengers, dreamers, strollers, to those who seek a more equitable life for all.

These Positions of Power, this alignment of the human body imposed by those who exert power, are postures that embody power relations in their raw form. They probably came into being with the foundation of states – though their visual depiction or representations are more apparent in recent times.

The numbering relates to Article 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 10 December 1948: No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

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Florence Wangui

Country: Kenya

Style: Realism

Medium: Charcoal on Paper, Oil on Canvas

Fun Fact: Third Prize Winner of Kenya’s Manjano in 2013

Quote: “I didn’t show anyone my sketch book until, late 2011, when I met Patrick Mukabi and told him I wanted to become a great artist and I’d appreciate his help,” “My mother was very strict and made us stay indoors while she went to work, so that’s when I had time to draw.”







Edison Mugalu

Country: Uganda

Style: Contemporary/ Modernist/ Expressionist

Medium: Oil/Acrylics on Canvas

Fun Fact: he is a self-taught artist


In the latest series by Edison Mugalu, the artist portrays the city of Zanzibar. He is even more drawn to feelings and colors than to actual subjects.

The feeling of water is apparent. The people always seem to be moving in one direction, whether on bicycles or in hijabs. Sometimes the subject is lonely in a cul-de-sac, but again in regard to feelings, I would say this artist was feeling lonely.

There is also a sense of musicality; rhythm and flow of activity. There is a world that is known and yet perhaps unknown. It is a philosophical question on whether to exist in a world that is like a fleeting dream. (Start Journal of East African Art)


1. Aids is real


3. The Great Shell