Bilder aus Traeumen – Dreaming in Pictures: JAK KATARIKAWE
by J. Agthe & E. Court.
Jak Katarikawe is one of the most prominent old masters of East African art and has contributed fundamentally to the foundation of contemporary expressive art in the region.
Jak Katarikawe was born in c. 1940 in Kigezi, Uganda. He never received any formal education, though he was inspired both by his mother’s paintings on the walls of their house and murals in the Catholic Cathedral at Rushoroza.
The first 25 years of his life he underwent the usual career of an African casual labourer, before Professor David Cook, a lecturer of literature at Makarere University in Kampala, discovered his talents and supported his artistic endeavours.
After Idi Amin’s seizure of power beginning in 1970, Katarikawe withdrew from the capital to his rural home in Kigezi, and later moved to Nairobi, Kenya, in 1981, where he has been living since. He joined the then newly established Paa Ya Paa Arts Centre and became, from 1984 onward, one of the top Gallery Watatu Artists.
Katarikawe’s art is not conceptual, not documentary, not political, but very personal and emotional – sexual erotic fantasy and reality, figurative and abstract, merge imperceptibly. He is a narrative painter, visualising in a very personal way local values, tradition and culture; his art becomes a synthesis between his cultural storytelling and modern expressionism. He has often been dubbed by western critics as the ‘East African Chagall’.
Over the years Katarikawe's work has shown gradual changes in technique and colour quality. His very early works were built up in strokes of pencil and crayon, later featuring water colours, wax crayon, occasionally wood/lino cuts and onward predominantly favouring oil.
Katarikawe has amassed more than 40 years of creativity, an enormous treasure of artworks spread all over the world, with the largest collection of more than 150 pieces at the Museum of World Cultures in Frankfurt, Germany.
He has participated in numerous national and international solo and group exhibitions.
In 2001 the Frankfurt Museum of World Cultures in Germany presented a major touring exhibition spanning 40 years of his career. The opening of this exhibition saw the publication the monograph Bilder aus Traeumen – Dreaming in Pictures: Jak Katarikawe by J. Agthe & E. Court.
Jak Katarikawe lives and works as a freelance artist in Nairobi.
Untitled | Oil on Hardboard | 105cm x 76cm - ca. 1995
Untitled | Oil on Hardboard | 105cm x 76cm - ca. 1996
Untitled | Woodcut | 46cm x 62cm
Untitled | Woodcut | 62cm x 44cm
Untitled | Woodcut | 44cm x 62cm
Your Father is the Most High | Oil on Hardboard | 44cm x 62cm - ca. 2000
Untitled | Oil on Hardboard | 48cm x 21cm - ca. 2000