Joseph Ntensibe was born in Uganda in 1954. Teachers, recognising his talent, secured him an art scholarship at the renowned Makerere University School of Fine Art that produced so many now-famous African Artists.
Brought to the attention of Iris Hunt in 1977, she exposed him to different media. Iris’ promotion and special exhibits at Mount Kenya Art Gallery made it possible for Joseph to become a full-time Artist and concentrate on developing his own style.
Many overseas exhibitions followed and gained Joseph Ntensibe a place amongst Africa’s famous painters. Many of Ntensibe’s works have quite a magical quality, eerie creatures of the night, peering at us from the canvas, or his concern with the endangered wildlife of his native Africa: Gorillas depicted as the warm and loving “People of the forest,” and the bongo moving silently through the forest’s rays of light.
Why have you chosen this topic? Joseph: I was born in a forest. I recall how green it was everywhere, nature was in full blossom. When I visit these rural areas today, the forests are not there anymore. I feel many of the forests around the country are being abused, they are cutting down too many trees. And then, there is global warming, of course.
How would you describe your way of working?
Joseph: I am very articulate, working on layer after layer, combining many colours that are not there in reality, and my technique evolves around using the colours of the rainbow. And also, I always leave some of the original colours from my first layer to peep through the upper layers.
Joseph: Firstly, these diametric shapes are my identity, my signature. They HAVE to be present in all my paintings. Second, these colours are used to reflect, to emphasise and to brighten up the composition.
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[Image is Joseph Ntensibe in his studio, 2011]