Pamela Enyonu is a Ugandan artist living in Kampala who graduated from Kyambogo University Banda in Art and Design. She draws inspiration from gender, identity, empowerment, and self-awareness narratives to create works that balance and offset the personal with a deeply rooted message. Check out the interview below to learn more about her influences and how she creates her work!
Pamela Enyonu, in her art studio
What Inspires you? What does your art mean to you?
Many things inspire me, but we can narrow them down to feminism, sharing women’s experiences and working with familiar materials in an unfamiliar way. My work is a way for me to make meaning/sense of the stuff around me.
How do you get ideas for each piece of art?
Anything can spark an idea, but usually, it’s a strong desire to capture and translate a feeling. Life is a collection of moments, and some moments leave such strong impressions you can’t help but be inspired by them.
How does your work comment on current social or political issues?
As a darker-skinned African woman, I live in a world that places me at the bottom of a hierarchy. My work comments on the experiences of living in my body or a body like mine. It magnifies our hopes, dreams, fears and experiences as we navigate womanhood in our lifetime.
Pamela Enyonu, A Keeper 2022, from the series “I visited a different bush”
What was the strongest influence you had when you were growing up (artists,movies, family, books)?
Books in general. Comic books, cartoons, anime, manga. I have always been awed by the power of imagination and the limitless possibilities. Anything is possible in a book, cartoon or manga. For a few moments, it makes you forget your inadequacies and ignites a belief in yourself, leading to you going after things you consider hard or impossible.
What does your art aim to say to your audience?
You are beautiful, and you are capable, you are valid and worthy of happiness. Whatever you put your mind to, you can do it. I want people to feel good about themselves.
Is there something that you have created that you are most proud of?
I am proud of my ability to manipulate common everyday materials such as tissue paper, plastic, and foil and present them in unfamiliar ways. I often joke with my friends that I can touch material and figure out the best glue for it. It gives me so much satisfaction to bend the material to my will.
We are also excited to reveal that this year’s AKKA Project Venice Artist Residency program will feature artist Pamela Enyonu. The residency will allow her to explore and challenge her creative processes in Venice and the Italian territory. The residency will last two months, which allows the artist to work on a concept, research, reflect, immerse themselves and get inspired by Venice. The outcome of the residceny will be exhibited as a solo show at AKKA Project Venice the coming year.