We need to give enough air so colours can breathe and shine

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What do you see when you envision the future of the Belgian creative scene? For us, we see diverse, unique perspectives, representative of the world around us. That is exactly why we have been working on our 20-something issues since 2014. These editions feature 20 people in their (pre-)twenties who are a guide, an inspiration or an Earlybird for the young generation of today in Belgium. It is the greatest honour to step into the minds of some of the most innovative young people in Belgium; and learn about their dreams, fears, inspirations and even their celebrity crushes. This year’s list was co-curated with Kevin Kotahunyi, founder of Please Add Color.

Amat Gueye  

he/him, 26, painter & visual artist, Brussels

What do we & our readers need to remember about you?

That I'm devoted to understanding art and learning about painting.  


What role does colour play in your work?

It depends on the painting. Sometimes it is the subject, I experiment with colours and transparency. It is also intuitive, something that needs to be balanced. Sometimes I will leave out one colour to feel satisfied. I also follow my instincts. Colour is a matter. We also need to give enough air so that colours can breathe and shine.

I experiment with colours and transparency

Colours need to not be contaminated by uncontrolled things. White is good for giving space. Black can give a sort of skull for colours when colours are too flying.

What artists are you listening to?/Which records are you playing most right now?/What book are you currently reading?/Which film have you enjoyed lately?

When I paint I listen mostly to roots and reggae music: Agobun Soundsystem, The Disciples or ABA Shanti I...  


Plasticine artists I'm trying to decrypt are Walter Swennen, Albert Oehlen, Sigmar Polke... Regarding movies, I am fascinated by David Lynch, I enjoyed Twin Peaks and its soundtrack a lot. The last comedy that I remember appreciating was Eric Andre’s Bad Trip. I find the way he created this movie really innovatively.

What makes your heart go faster these days?

New ideas for painting, or new plastic solutions. I enjoy discovering artists, painters, and the history of art through art galleries. 

What are you doing daily at 9 pm/9 am?

At 9 am I am just waking up. At 9 pm I'm probably still in my studio painting, thinking about painting or creating a mess.

What’s your personal utopia?

Creating a school with passionate people in all kinds of subjects. From music to food, to fashion. And to build a new studio. Creating a community, in which everyone can learn from and get inspired by each other. A community just obsessed with making good things. I also dream of being old, with long white dreadlocks.

How do you relax?

Meditating at night or in the morning for 20 minutes. Having lunch alone in a fast food place. Watching the news and thinking. Painting is always on my mind.

What’s one of your sources of inspiration that may surprise people?

Recently I took my inspiration from the Météo map.

What would you like to be doing in 10 years’ time?

Still painting, hopefully also doing music, or theatre, or something creative. Also being responsible, financially ok, maybe having kids, being able to make plans.

What is the latest/future project you are working on?

I worked on a show in Brussels this month, it was really exciting. At the end of March, I participated in New Horizons in Painting, organised by ISELP, which showed the practice of 9 painters who just graduated from art schools in Belgium.

What will the second part of 2022 bring you?

Because I did some shows in the first part of 2022, I hope the second part will give me some feedback about my painting practice. Hopefully, I will travel, meet new people, maybe live in a new city. I also hope to be in less of a hurry and have time to focus on details in my studio, to try new things...

Who is the person that most influenced you throughout your development in life?

There are a lot; my uncle in Senegal, my granddad, my parents and my girlfriend. During my painting education, my teacher Olivier Drouot, and Antwan Horfee motivated me to pursue a practice.

What is the most important thing you’ve learned lately?

To focus on the people who inspire me, motivate me and that I trust.

Is there anyone in your scene who needs more attention?

My painting colleagues Naoki Karathanassis, Fabien Karp, Stéphane Abitbol, Martin Bonnaz. Painting is a complex medium and the art world is a hard area to survive.

Comfort food/speciality dish?

Mafé, I eat it every Tuesday in a hidden place in Molenbeek. Or pâte carbonara, I ate it daily for 10 years, never got bored of it.

Celebrity crush?

I like the Twitch streamer Kameto.

Most irrational fear?/Most rational fear?

My most irrational fear is that suddenly the tram will hit 300km/h in the city, and then I won’t have the time to see it when I cross the street. 

If you were a cartoon character in a show, what would be your uniform?

I would be the artistic one, but they stereotype us too much, we never really hear what these characters feel or think. At parties, I think I look like one of the bad Gremlins. Otherwise, I wish to be a bunny who says ‘What's up Doc?’ I don't know...

What were you like as a child?

I think I was a cool guy, good at school, half nerdy, half rebel. Kind of a medium guy.


If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

I'm not into wishing for superpowers. Sorry, I'm a party pooper.

What’s the one thing you can’t live without?


If there was a book about your life, what would the title be?

‘Surviving in the XXI century by making paintings’

Biggest red flag?

The privilege of speech.

Biggest dream?

Being a multimedia artist, painter, DJ and comedian. Being free as a human by making things you like. Creating a school with a passion to unite people and make good things together.

Favourite quote from a book/movie/show/song

‘Wa gwan’ from Top Boy ‘Got a light,’ from Twin Peaks.

What brings you satisfaction?

Or do as I planned something, or do something new, because of new matters, Wich brings me in a new area. Doing something that brings anyone satisfaction in a way.

How did your collaboration with Please Add Color begin?

Helene from Ballon Rouge or Kevin heard about my painting practice. They came to my studio to see the works in reality, and after they invited me to exhibit in their space. It went fluidly.


Photo shot by Elena Pavlyukova and Isabelle Arthuis  


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