Angella Atwine is a photographer based in Kigali. She goes by the name ‘Amate‘. She loves to refer to herself as a creative activist because she is passionate about causing change using her art.
She is a self taught storyteller with a camera in hand photographing the poetry she cannot write. She believes in UBUNTU – a philosophy that addresses human kindness.
When she is not doing all things related to photography, she is probably at her work desk designing PR campaigns, listening to music or a podcast, watching basketball or documentaries!
Hello Amate, could you tell our readers a little bit about who you are?
I’m a 24 year old Ugandan-Rwandan photographer staying in Kigali. Very passionate about humanitarian work especially children.
Where does your inspiration come from?
My inspiration comes from within; usually I have an attachment to my subject or the person I am going to shoot. I always feel there is a story I must tell through every picture and every other time I see something and get such feelings, I just bring out my camera and shoot (I walk with my camera everywhere).
Tell us about your art style or process.
We live in a world of great contrast in society; black and white and barely a visible grey area. This is why I take silhouettes and black and white images. Most of my photos are Dark subjects with usually a bright goal. I hope my art inspires someone out there.
Have there been other artists/role-models or books that played a key role on your artistic journey?
Insert J.Cole’s… No role models hahaha but anyway, everyone out there doing something to make the world better for anyone, I look up to you. You inspire me. However my parents have been instrumental in my journey. My dad bought me my first camera which I still use right now. They are so supportive and every other thing I do, I do it for them. To make them proud.
I have met so many people that have inspired my art. I remember in 2014 before I took photography seriously, (I knew I was passionate about it but would do it later in life) I had an encounter with a street child in Kampala who against all odds was working hard to leave the streets. I was going back to a good home, food, name it that evening.
I remember sitting on my bed and telling myself that if that kid who was not so privileged was so determined to chase his dreams, what was stopping me from pursuing my passion. I started doing photography a few days after that. I did not have a camera then so I started off shooting with my phone.
How did you learn this/your technique?
I am self taught. I knew I was passionate about photography so even before I acquired my own camera I was using my phone to shoot. After my high school , I met people who shared the same interests and they were already experienced so they drove me to learn even more.
How has art impacted your life?
I see life differently to be honest. I have met many people, advantaged, disadvantaged and their stories have changed my perception on life. They driven me to want to do more change with society and also appreciate everyone regardless of social status, race, etc. I have learnt that in every person there is a world and we have to appreciate that.
Tell us a bit about your last work.
My last work was at a childhood cancer survivors’ camp in Uganda. This was last year in December. The camp brought together children who were cancer survivors and some of were still on medication. It was so inspiring. It was life changing.
It must have truly been life changing! What was most challenging for you when you worked at the childhood cancer survivors’ camp in Uganda?
Prior to the camp, I volunteered with children with cancer for 4 years . It is very hard and challenging to shoot sick people. You don’t want to portray them as nearly dying , you want to break the stereotypes around certain diseases so it takes a lot of patience. You have to wait for the moment. It could take days or more to get such a picture. The camp was easy for me to work at because I was so fond of the children and also since they were survivors , it was much more easier.
How do you connect with your subject? How do you control your emotions when you realise something about what you see touches you?
I usually interact with the subjects first because it is easier to connect with the subject when you know their story, when you have established a form of trust , when they are free with around you . About controlling my emotions, I’m very emotional , sometimes I want to cry but I have to fight it so that I don’t create awkwardness around the conversation or topic.
What does the future look like for you and your art?
I just need a new camera hahahhahaha… I am honestly excited to document more of people’s stories. There is a thing with photos; they bring out different emotions in people and such emotions drive people to bring change. The world is going to get better; I am just looking forward to every day.
Any words of advice to aspiring artists…
Don’t be comfortable; strive to grow in your art. Establish your niche and perfect that.
How can our readers contact you or find your art?
My instagram https://www.instagram.com/amate_angelle/
An Artist Feature by Chriselda Barretto