Emmie Nume

Emmie Nume is a Ugandan artist born in 1999 in Kampala, Uganda. From March to June 2021, he was an artist-in-residence at Silhouette Projects under Afriart Gallery. Since he began this first residency, he propelled his artistic expression into its own distinct visual language.

His paintings and drawings reflect a deeply intuitive practice. While focusing on portraiture, he captures the essence of emotions through spontaneous and free expression – devoid of any meticulous formal and academic calculation of his figures and scenes. His ability to combine spontaneous abstraction and figurative complexities speaks of the freedom he grants himself while creating. Mainly working with charcoal, pastels, and acrylics on canvas and paper, Emmie Nume adds spontaneous use of collage and found objects and other media and techniques in his works.

Nume’s personal experiences act as a point of departure for his visual expressions – a language that interrogates the internal, the intimate, as it yields a way to surface the unseen and to communicate to the viewer. His own fragility and vulnerability confront the viewer in a bold manner, almost giving the impression of having witnessed something too intimate. As an attempt to grapple with what can’t be expressed with words, Nume allows the viewer to experience the nuances between depression and love and between the past and present. His visual language is unafraid to evoke those unsettling and uncomfortable emotions in the viewer, making them almost feel like voyeurs peeping into someone’s most fragile existence.

Allowing himself to be an honest and bold observer of himself, he creates powerful and captivating expressions that eventually become crude yet dreamlike reflections of some of humans’ most crucial moments in life. Emmie Nume is a storyteller, creating figures and scenes with an oozing aura, vulnerable and full of softness and nuance.

Empty gazes into nowhere and moments in which the world goes about its usual routine while one’s own seems to have come to an uncomfortable standstill, speak, at a closer look, of change and evolution.

Nume held his debut solo exhibition WHEN THOUGHTS ATTACK ME in 2023 at Afriart Gallery. He has shown in the group exhibitions I DRAW, THEREFORE I THINK (South South Platform, 2021) and WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE (Afriart Gallery, 2022), FORM AND FANTASY (Afriart Gallery, 2024) and at Art Basel Miami Beach, Liste Art Fair Basel, EXPO Chicago, Joburg Art Fair, ARCO Lisbon, 154 London, and Investec Cape Town Art Fair. Since February 2023, he is an artist-in-resident at the Tracey Emin Foundation in Margate, UK.

Selected Press:

Debra Brehmer for Hyperallergic: The Productive Messiness of EXPO Chicago 2024.

Gloria Coutinho for Start Journal: Emmie Nume - A Diamond in the Rough. 2023.

Art Africa Magazine: When Thoughts Attack Me: Emmie Nume at Afriart Gallery, Uganda. 2023.

Roli O’tsemaye for Sugarcane Mag: This Week in African Art and Culture. 2023.

Kenny Schachter for Artnet: Sunglass Idiots! Slipper Thieves! Lawsuits! Kenny Schachter Braved the Existential Vortex of Art Basel Miami Beach to Get the Goods. 2022.

Gareth Harris for The Art Newspaper: Survival of the fittest: join artists for 12-hour live drawing session inspired by Charles Darwin. 2021

1999 -
Nationality: Ugandan
Residence: Kampala
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