The Art of Living | Meet The UK Based Ugandan Artist – Lucy Agatha Namayanja
Lucy Namayanja was born in 1983 during the post Idi Amin era and the second coming of the previously deposed president Obote. A time when more lives were lost than during Amin’s rule because of the many opposition challenges from supporters of Amin and paranoia of reprisals.
Thousands of civilians were killed including Lucy’s father, once a provider of a good living, large home and stable family. Forced to live in poverty, sustain many beatings by rebel soldiers. Lucy’s widowed mother did her best for Lucy and her family. Growing up in such an unstable environment may well have inadvertently been the catalyst for Lucy’s artistic beginnings. She used art as a medium to free her mind from the repressive society by studying interior design from the few magazines available, arranging interiors and re-working clothing.
She was inspired by art nouveau to create a series of original works using nature as a primary decorative source utilizing symbolism to promote birth, growth, decay and death. As she explains, “my challenge is to communicate to the viewer by creating a series of works entitled ‘The Art of Living’. By using the powerful tool of art to show complex ideas in a simple way and to facilitate non-verbal communication around abstract ideas”.
The word organic to me means living, regardless of the object. There are so many different shapes and sizes around us. My original shapes were made from plaster mesh arranged in groups so as not to be lonely, with centre bands to dress them so as not to be naked and vulnerable. Photographed in various configurations, angles and backgrounds with a variety of light sources and intensities that become movie sets and landscapes to enhance their beauty like actors on a stage.
Think of the organic shapes in the center of room as a chrysalis waiting patiently to grow, hatch and emerge into the beautiful colorful butterflies, which become my digital paintings. While the pictures are on the wall they grow and evolve. The notion of optical truth to the innocent eye is of central importance to justify the manipulation of the materials.
(2013) Coming Soon Club, London
(2012) The Garage Gallery
(2012) Swiss Cottage Gallery
(2011) Young Designers, Islington
(2011) Graduate Exhibition, Cavendish Collage.
Lucy summarizes her artwork below.
My artwork takes a critical view of my own individual, social, political and cultural issues. Often referencing and examining the relationship between birth, life, growth, death and decay. Utilizing the transformative power of art and its ability to communicate non verbally within our society around abstract ideas.
Combining craft with technology, architectural organic sculptures evolve through a series of digital manipulations into abstract images. The notion of optical truth is of central importance to justify the manipulation of the materials. My innocent eye being uncorrupted by the western world enables the engagement of diverse modernist architectural forms which reproduces familiar visual signs, arranging them into new conceptually layered pieces.