Atem Aleu

Atem Aleu is from the Dinka tribe in southern Sudan. He was born in 1980. Coming from a family where there were no other artists and having no professional teachers Atem learnt to paint on his own.

“In Dinka many people are born with the ability to do different things in art, like designing. But nobody came up with drawing in Dinka. In Dinka history there is nobody who has the ability of drawing pictures. Only one person who lived in the south of Sudan went to school and learned how to draw. But many people in Dinka, they just do traditional things,“ Atem says.

It was in Kakuma refugee camp (Kenya) that he learned to paint. After being resettled to Utah (the United States) Atem has been continuously returning to Kenya and Uganda to teach drawing, writing and music.

This website has been developed by the Museums and Public Memory (Anth 159a) class taught by Professor Mark Auslander at Brandeis University. Images have been reproduced with the permission of the African Refugee Artists Club.