David Wasswa Katongole.


David Wasswa Katongole

David Wasswa Katongole was born in East Africa, Uganda. He got his early education at King's College, Buddo. In 1962, he joined the Margaret school of fine art at Makerere University College. After graduating from Makerere he worked as an Associate Art director at the Uganda National Television.

Wasswa, as he became known, developed a bold and colorful adaptation of Lumu's fragmentation technique and later transformed his distinctive 'line and color-zone' style from water colors on paper to dyes on canvas. Wasswa is considered an early innovator of East African 'batik painting' originated by Ugandan artists in East Africa after the technically-different wax-resist dying technique arrived from Indonesia during the mid-1950s. The original Indonesian batik dying technique, denegrated as 'craft' by the fine artists of Makerere in the early 1960's, became visually and technically transformed into a legitimate fine art medium, 'water colors on canvas', by Ugandan artists such as Wasswa, who dramatically altered the medium by painting dark to light colors instead of dipping dyes in the order from light to dark. Noted Ugandan artists such as the late Henry Lumu, David Kibuuka, Mugalula Mukiibi, Dan Sekanwagi, Nuwa Nnyanzi, and others, further refined this unique medium until it became virtually indistinguishable in detail and complexity from other fine art mediums such as water colors and acrylics. Wasswa helped the new art form take hold in the Nairobi art scene during the late 1960s through 1980s. Today, Wasswa continues his painting in Uganda using mixed media of pen-and-ink and water colors on paper and canvas.

Jack fruit back.

Hardly noticeable in his work, Wasswa often looks to nature for most of his inspiration.

"Nature is most amazing creator and we are so blessed to see it's work everyday but we never notice it" Wasswa says in his native luganda as he looks at this jack fruit backing.

Wasswa's technique represents a unique blend of precise figure-drawing set against bold, colorful contemporary backgrounds and colored zones.

Baganda dancers sketch.

Wasswa is famous for his figurative Baganda Dancers as seen in this work in progress.

Subjects for this artist's work include traditionally attired dancers such as the Baganda, and nomadic cattle-herders such as the Maasai, as well using his precision as a draftsman to create complex scenes of animals and landscapes characteristic of East Africa.


Wasswa Katongole Paintings.

African Elegance.Hardly noticeable in his work, Wasswa often looks to nature for most of his inspiration. Photo courtesy of Zimbe Collection.

Expecting.Wasswa's technique represents a unique blend of precise figure-drawing set against bold, colorful contemporary backgrounds and colored zones. Photo courtesy of Zimbe Collection.

Ganda Dancers.

Subjects for this artist's work include traditionally attired dancers such as the Baganda. Photo courtesy of Zimbe Collection.