Godwin Namuyimba Deconstructs The Elements of Identity

Godwin Namuyimba creates intricately layered paintings that tackle social and political issues. Born, raised, and still based in Uganda, Namuyimba uses the human form to explore the construction of identity from his own perspective. He is preparing for a solo exhibition at Dapaah Gallery at the end of this year. Here, we speak with Namuyimba about his background with art, his process, and the current landscape for Black contemporary artists.


Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from and when did art first enter your life?

I was born in Masaka, Uganda, I live and work in Kampala Uganda. I have been drawing since childhood. Attending formal art college like many do, gave me a platform for a better artistic environment, but the truth is, I built the professional artistic discipline auto-didactically.

What is your background in art?

My background in art is portraiture and figurative.


Who are the figures in your paintings?

The figures in my paintings are my black friends and friends of friends.

Your work seems to have an element of social commentary. What are some themes you are exploring?

I use human form to explore the construction of identity in relation to race and individuality in a postcolonial African context. I also attempt to critique stereotypical depictions of black people, while I explore the conflicts and tensions between the ideologies of Afrocentrism and Eurocentrism.


As a Black contemporary visual artist, have you seen the art landscape change for artists of color?

It’s a process that has endured progress for a time but still a lot has to be done for the better of us and artists that are to come after us.

What is your process like? How do you begin a painting?

My paintings usually begin in the mind and they usually finish in the mind. The process on the canvas involves a lot of layering which makes my art work unique and attractive.


What are you most excited for this year?

A solo show of my works with Dapaah Gallery this December.

At the end of every interview, we like to ask the artist to recommend a friend whose work you love for us to interview next. Who would you suggest?

Kaloki Nyamai