Turning trash to art
Many people consider old newspapers and magazines as trash, but this is gold for a young migrant artist. Benon Lutaaya, 26, from Uganda is making a name for himself in the South African art circles by using recycled papers to paint. “I specialize mostly in collage, where I recycle papers to paint,” the young award winning artist related.
Most of his paintings convey an emotional story, illustrating the fragility of life from his own personal experiences. “My subjects are mostly young people living on the fringes of the mainstream society,” he explained. This is clearly visible in Lutaaya’s paintings, which reflects faces of young children both trapped in war, abused, uncertain of the future, or those orphaned by Aids and currently live in child-headed households.
The migrant artist paints with a depth and intensity that few artists employ, tackling issues that most people would choose to avoid. The abstract imagery in his works represents the act of survival while the text, often obscure, stresses questions of identity. From this mixture comes a release of energy, imbued with life and raw simplicity.
“I enjoy coming up with something new and unique. I love to surprise myself. When people see my work, I would like them to enjoy each piece for its colour harmony, pleasing visual appeal and the ability to connect and communicate,” he said with a huge smile on his face. Lutaaya holds a Bachelors degree in Fine Art and Education, from Uganda’s Makerere University.
His currently a full time artist based at the Bag Factory Artists’ Studios in Newtown, Johannesburg. Last September he won the Ithuba Arts Fund grant, he was selected for a residency in Vermont, USA, and he is also a feature artist of the MultiChoice Africa Calender for 2012. He was part of the Thupelo International artist’s workshop 2012 in Johannesburg.
Lutaaya is involved in a variety of young artists’ initiative in the City of Johannesburg. He has also worked with vulnerable children both in Uganda and Alexandra Township in South Africa. Although he is primarily a paper collage artist, he recently started experimenting with acrylic painting. The artist said his major exhibition at Ithuba Arts fund grantee in November 2011 was a total sell-out on the opening night. “My paintings are present in a variety of private collections both in South Africa, Europe and North America,” he related. (Hassan Isilow)
originally published on: http://vocfm.co.za/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=3893:turning-trash-to-art&Itemid=139&tmpl=component&print=1