The human psyche, as has been extensively explored, is a complex issue one so little understood by the individual let alone a whole society. Our identities are complex: they are dynamic, heavily dependent on external context and, crucially, subject to individual perspective. Is it even possible to capture a moment of self? Encompassing its overt as well as subtle nature? Not to mention the infinite number of influences constantly ripping, mashing, discarding and shaping it?
Enter Benon Lutaaya; a Ugandan born visual artist who has taken up this daunting calling of capturing these very moments for the world to marvel at and, judging from his steady rise to prominence, we can safely conclude he is doing a pretty good job at it. Although versatile, Benon is best known for his collages art style; a style perhaps most indicative of the fractured nature of the subject matter. With a physical manifestation of self most likely to take up the form of a collage: made up of unique layers of loose-fitting and degradable pieces of material, subtly changing as it makes its way through the world and constantly struggling to keep together its perceived or desired form. It would be remise to limit his work to the psyche however because there is a certain depth in the artwork that goes beyond the minds, many constructs and speaks directly to the soul. This can be seen in some of his more abstract work which sheds the limitations of form and instead provides a splash of raw and soulful expression.
Like any gifted artist his work does not attempt to answer any of the observers questions but rather itself asks many more while graciously offering subtle hints. This provides the observer with an endless source for meaningful introspection.
It is this unique fusion of a gifted eye, constant exploration of humanity, self-introspection and skilled hands that has led Benon to numerous awards and not just national but international acclaim with his artwork being sought out throughout the world. His many achievements including winning the Arts and Culture Trust’s ImpACT Award for Visual Art as well as being named 2015 Bright Young Thing by Art Africa magazine.
Benon, an African, is not just creating pieces of artwork but a legacy for future generations and one that they will look at with the same awe that we look at the great artworks of the past. He is amongst a legion of young artists bringing forth the African identity, reshaping what it means to be African and, collectively, spearheading the African Renaissance.
By Marena ‘Wa Ditlou’ Mothoa