The Kenyan Master in Collage Art
Rosemary Karuga was born in 1928 in Meru, Kenya.
From 1950 to 1952, she was the first female student at Makarere University’s School of Fine Art in Kampala, Uganda, where she studied design, painting and sculpture. After graduation she moved back to Kenya and became a fulltime art teacher.
It was only in 1987 – at almost 60 years old – that she again tapped into her artistic talent as an Artist-in-Residence at the Paa ya Paa Arts Centre in Nairobi. Rosemary Karuga became a highly esteemed and respected artist in the Kenyan art scene, with an increasing international reputation. She had her international breakthrough in 1990 with a group exhibition at the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York. Other international exhibitions followed in quick succession.
Rosemary Karuga's artistic expression is very personal and has a unique technique. Her ‘tools’ are coloured paper scraps – from newspapers, glossy magazines, to packaging material, scissors and glue. Inspired by Byzantine mosaics, she creates colourful paper collages of people, animals and landscapes of intense strength. Her work reflects her direct environment in figurative representational art.