Jude Kateete and His Art

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Jude Kateete is a visual artist living and working in Kampala, Uganda. He’s an art historian at Makerere University who grew up in Kayabwe, Mpigi district, during the 1981 – 1986 civil war where fishing and cultivation was the livelihood for the family. Jude points to this upbringing as a pivotal moment in his development as an artist.

His family had fled Kampala, from Rubaga near the Lubiri military barracks after the rebel forces attacked the barracks in 1982. “Fleeing to the village was a turning point,” says Jude. “It was a humbling experience that turned a new page in my life and provided me with the adventure I would have missed had I lived and grown up only in the city.”

His rural childhood was an adventure which cultivated an ongoing interest in the craft of masquerade as he made scarecrows to scare away birds and monkey which piqued his curiosity in the art of sculpting.

He received quality education and was encouraged by his parents not to drop out of school. He attended St. Mary’s College Kisubi (1988 – 1994) and Makerere University, graduating at the Margaret Trowell School of Industrial and Fine Arts, having majored in painting and sculpture before pursued linguistics learning French, Spanish, Kiswahili and German.

The six years he spent at St. Mary’s College, Kisubi were the most defining moments that gave him hope for a career as an artist. The intellectual forces around him in Kisubi generated his mental light. From there, he developed a passion for reading which, almost instinctively, enabled him to become an art historian during his postgraduate studies.

Returning to Makerere University for a Master of Arts in Art History he grounded himself as an art historian specializing in Medieval Studies (specifically, 19th century French art, with particular interest in Eugene Delacroix).

He joined the global campaign to control arms and in July 2007 exhibited a collection of paintings on the theme called, “Facing Up to the Arms Challenge” at Sankaranka Gallery, Contemporary African Art, Dumbo in Brooklyn, New York. This stake in the critical political question of arms trade control became defining.

Currently, in his paintings, Jude is exploring the principle of, ‘less is more’ by leaving out some details so that the viewer builds up the full picture only in their mind. Following his series of artwork based on armed conflict, he is exploring minimalism with guinea fowls as a subject matter.

In his work, “The Crucible that Shaped Me” Jude weaves together the various strands of his life that positively influenced him. In sharing his experiences, he picked out some of what are his most memorable, instructive and transformative.

“My journey has been lots of little steps which God has enabled me to successfully take. It was not meteoric, ” he says. “I draw the usage of ‘Crucible’ from its literal meaning as a place or situation in which people or ideas are tested severely or where concentrated forces interact often creating something new or exciting in the process or causing or influencing change or development”

Jude can be reached on + 256 (0) 774 626 969. His e-mail: judekateete@hotmail.com

His art work can be found in the following art galleries

  • Umoja art gallery in Kamwokya
  • Afriart art Gallery in Kamwokya
  • MishMash art gallery on Acacia Avenue

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