Joseph Njie Original Painting

Joseph Njie Original Painting


Joseph Njie’s paintings can be found in homes worldwide.  He is originally from the Gambia but has been working out of Natitingou, Benin for many years.  He has been painting for 25 years.  When he was younger, he loved to paint but never thought there were benefits attached to it.  In his youth, he enjoyed collecting artifacts and paintings and even managed his own galleries where he bought and sold the artwork.  Eventually, he realized that he could create anything he wanted himself and began painting full time.  He has taught art in various African countries.  


His specialty is pigment paintings, where he goes out and collects different objects in order to extract the colors from them.  He says the best pigments are found in Natitingou, which is why he chose to make that northern city of Benin his home.  He enjoys the process of making his own pigments because it gives him the opportunity to go on long walks and hikes all through the valleys of the Atacora mountains.  Not all colors are easy to find in nature.  He collects red from the leaves of teak trees, black from charcoal, and white from oyster and snail shells.  He can make use of any material substance he comes across.  This is his favorite part of the job; finding new pigments to add to his collection.  The next part of his process is to draw and fix the pigments on canvases he makes himself out of old curtains and tablecloths he find in the local market.  All of his work is done under the hot African sun so that the pigments will stay on the canvas. 


Joseph’s inspiration is everyday life.  Most of his paintings are about human beings and old African proverbs.  He can relate most current events to those proverbs he’s heard all of his life.  He believes that there are existing stories and parables that correspond to everyday life and if only we were to listen to them, humankind would not repeat mistakes.  The style he currently uses to portray these proverbs is through Figurative Abstract, which is a fusion of figurative, abstract, and naïve styles.

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