Agnes Buya Yombwe

1966 | Mazabuka, Zambia

Zambian painter, sculptor and textile artist.

Agnes Buya Yombwe produces work in a variety of media including drawing, painting, sculpture, installation (assemblage), collage, stitched appliqué, beadwork and found objects. As one of Zambia’s most eminent artists, she uses her art to situate and address women’s experiences, influenced by her own subjectivity in society.
Following the completion of her three-year Art Teachers Diploma at the Evelyn Hone College of Applied Arts & Commerce in Lusaka in 1989, Buya Yombwe started exhibiting in local galleries and cultural centres. She then taught art to secondary school students at Libala and Matero Boys Secondary Schools in Lusaka. Between 1997 and 2006 she lived and worked in Botswana where she taught at Bonnington and Donga Community Junior Secondary Schools. Outside her teaching practice, her work has always registered indigenous knowledge systems as well as activism as sources of artistic reflection. Her aesthetic is informed by the symbolism and tenets of the Mbusa marriage rites of the Bemba people of Northern Zambia.

She has held six solo exhibitions and has also undertaken studio residences at Wimbledon School of Art, London, United Kingdom, and the Edvard Munch studio in Oslo, Norway in 1995 and at the McColl Center for Art + Innovation in North Carolina in the United States in 2002. Her work is in private and public collections in Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, Norway, United Kingdom, United States, Germany and Indonesia.

From 2017 to 2019 she was a board member of the National Arts Council. She has also self-published two catalogues, Kudumbisiana (2015) and Ni Mzilo – It is taboo (2019). These two publications respond to the epistemic gap that persists with respect to knowledge around modern and contemporary Zambian art. She continues to exhibit her artworks at her own studio space, Wayi Wayi Art Studio and Gallery in Livingstone, Zambia, which now serves as a cultural hub. A driven and passionate conservationist, in 2021 she launched the Wayi Wayi Creatives Village which will serve as an ecological sanctuary and artists’ residence.

Andrew M. Mulenga

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