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Benon Lutaaya


Benon Lutaaya is a Ugandan artist born in 1985. He presently works and lives in Johannesburg with a studio at the Bag Factory Artists' Studios in Newtown. He holds a bachelor of Vocational Studies in Art and Design with Education from the Kyambogo University in Kampala, Uganda.

He started his professional career in 2009 as an out and out paper collage artist. He has participated in a number of group art exhibitions in Uganda, South Africa and Europe. His paintings are present in a variety of private collections in South Africa, and overseas, and most recently in the Ellerman's Contemporary public art collection in Cape Town.

Lutaaya is actively involved in a number of art projects in the Johannesburg City, including the Ithuba Arts Fund 2011 and Display projects 2012; both of which resulted in exhibitions that SOLD out on the opening nights.

He is the Winner of Lovell Gallery Juried artists competition in Cape Town (2012), Recipient of Ithuba Arts Fund grant, Johannesburg (2011), he was an International guest artist at the Thupelo International Artists Workshop, Johannesburg (2012), an International Resident Artist award, Johannesburg (2011) and a Finalist of the BBC World Service “MyWorld” documentary competition, London (2010).

His work has been featured in international media including; the Mail and Guardian (2012), Pharma Executives Country report magazine (2012), Kolaj Magazine in Canada (2012), the Collagista in France (2011), African Elegant magazine in Uganda (2011), and on broadcasting media such as the SABC 3, Summit TV, and BBC world service TV, London (2010).

With his paper collage and sometimes mixed media work, comes abstract imagery which represents the act of survival, while the obscured text questions identity within society. Out of this mixture comes a release of energy imbued with life and raw simplicity. Benon strives to create art that is both beautiful and engaging to the mind.

Artist Statement

"My work is inspired by my own personal life experiences and explores a myriad of issues relating to identity, child hardship, homelessness, isolation and fear. Therefore, in almost all my paintings, there's a footprint or rather an element of my own self recognition.

The technical aspect of my work, particularly the creation process is what is most important and most intriguing. I am constantly re-evaluating my technique, and experimenting in my constant journey of searching to find a freer self.

I apply colour onto the canvas in a rather aggressive and crude way using not brushes but my fingers or found material such as telephone cards, sticks, or whatever is within my reach. The process is as intense and sweaty as it is exciting and inspiring. The technique allows for trails of infinite search, reconfiguration, and rediscovery to remain behind which allows my work a feel of spontaneity, and freshness. 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."