Gallery: Sanaa Gateja's paper bead tapestries

Closeup view of decorative tapestry


Grey tapestry


When Sanaa Gateja moved from Uganda to Kenya and then to Europe to study jewelry design, he was shocked by the number of newspapers and advertisements that would wind up in his waste bin. Following in the tradition of African arts that use found materials, Gateja brought a collection of these papers back to Uganda and began transforming them into beads. His workshop now employs more than 50 women, who help him construct the recycled paper beads and affix them to barkcloth, a traditional fabric made from the bark of trees in the fig family. The final tapestries help sustain livelihoods and, as Gateja says, “exhibit value and beauty in the creation of art from waste.”


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