Leilah Babirye

Leilah Babirye

Leilah Babirye (b. 1985; Kampala, Uganda) lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. She studied art at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda (2007–10), and participated in the Fire Island Artist Residency in 2015. In 2018, she received asylum in the US with support from the African Services Committee and the NYC Anti-Violence Project.

Babirye has presented solo exhibitions at Gordon Robichaux, New York (2020 and 2018) and Los Angeles (2022); Stephen Friedman Gallery, London (2021); and Rebecca Camacho Presents, San Francisco (2020).

Group exhibitions include mixed up with others before we even begin at mumok – Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, Vienna; Strange Clay: Ceramics in Contemporary Art, Hayward Gallery, London; Black Atlantic (co-curated by Hugh Hayden and Daniel S. Palmer), presented by the Public Art Fund, Brooklyn Bridge Park, New York; 52 Artists: A Feminist Milestone, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, Connecticut; Set It Off (curated by Racquel Chevremont and Mickalene Thomas, collectively known as Deux Femmes Noires), Parrish Museum of Art, Watermill, New York; Coventry Biennial, Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry, UK; Art on the Grid, Public Art Fund, New York; Did I Ever Have a Chance?, Marc Selwyn Fine Art, Los Angeles; A Page From My Intimate Journal (Part II) —, Parker Gallery, Los Angeles; Flight: A Collective History (curated by Serubiri Moses), Hessel Museum of Art, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York; Stonewall 50, Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston; Fur Cup (curated by Elisa Soliven), Underdonk, Brooklyn, New York; Strange Attractors (curated by Bob Nickas), Kerry Schuss, New York; Plays on Camp (curated by Dr. Ksenia M. Soboleva), Assembly Room, New York; and the 2018 Socrates Annual, Socrates Sculpture Park, Queens, New York.

Her work is held in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Hessel Museum of Art, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York; Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry, UK; Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio; and RISD Museum, Rhode Island, Providence.

Babirye has participated in numerous panel discussions in New York, including at NYU Tisch School of the Arts; Yorkshire Sculpture International; The Africa Center; 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair; and the Black Lesbian Conference at Barnard College.

Profiles on Babirye and her work were recently published in The New York Times, The New Yorker, the Brooklyn Rail, Hyperallergic, British Vogue, Wallpaper* Magazine, Cultured MagazineNew York MagazineModern PaintersOUT Magazine, SFMOMA’s Raw Material podcast (Season 4: Luvvers), BET.com, and the Financial Times.

In 2021, Gordon Robichaux and Stephen Friedman Gallery co-published the first monograph dedicated to Babirye’s work, with texts by Lauren O’Neill-Butler and Rianna Jade Parker.


Namasole Ndwaddewazibwa, Mother of King Kamaanya from the Kuchu Royal Family of Buganda

wood, wax, nails, bolts, washers, nuts, aluminum, bicycle tire inner tubes, found objects

102 3/8 × 22 7/8 × 11 1/8 inches


Namubiru from the Kuchu Lung Catfish Clan

Glazed ceramic

34 × 21 3/4 × 17 inches


Nakatiiti from the Kuchu Grasshopper Clan

Wood, copper, nails, found objects

63 3/4 × 29 1/2 × 8 inches


Baawala from the Kuchu Mamba (Lungfish) Clan

Glazed ceramic, bicycle tire inner tubes, and aluminum wire

89 × 23 × 22 inches


Tuli Mukwano (We Are In Love) #2

Wood, metal, cement, concrete and found objects

9 x 5 x 4 feet


Kinsambwe from the Kuchu Lungfish Clan

Glazed ceramic, copper wire, bicycle tire inner tubes, and found object

25 1/2 × 12 × 11 inches


Nasejje (Princess of the Kuchu Buganda Kingdom)

Glazed ceramic and copper

27 × 12 1/2 × 10 inches


Nkugwa from the Kuchu Lung Catfish Clan

Wood, wax, copper, nails, epoxy, metal pipe

61 3/4 × 11 × 10 inches


Abambowa (Royal Guard Who Protects the King)

Glazed ceramics

In three parts: 6.5 × 3 × 4 in; 6.5 × 4.25 × 2.25 in; 7 × 4 × 3.75 in


Nakiyingi from the Kuchu Sheep Clan

Wood, wax, aluminum, nails, bolts, washers, screws, wire, bicycle tire inner tubes and found objects

74 x 11.5 x 15 inches


Katetemela from the Kuchu Mamba (Lungfish) Clan

Glazed ceramic, wood, wax, bicycle tire inner tubes

51 x 30 x 21 inches


Nantege O’we Ngabi from the Kuchu Civet Cat Clan

Wood, wax, aluminum, nails, found objects

51 × 15 × 3 inches


Nagginda from the Kuchu Musu (Giant Cane Rat) Clan

Glazed ceramic, wire, nylon cable ties, found objects

10.5 x 7.5 x 7.5 inches


Kuchu Ndagamuntu (Queer Identity Card)

acrylic on paper

30 × 23 inches

33 1/2 × 26 inches (framed)


Kuchu Ndagamuntu (Queer Identity Card)

Acrylic on paper

30 × 23 inches

33 1/2 × 26 inches (framed)



Leilah Babirye

Sept. 15–Oct. 27, 2024

Leilah Babirye

Ebika Bya ba Kuchu mu Buganda (Kuchu Clans of Buganda) 2022

Feb. 20–Apr. 3, 2022

Leilah Babirye

Ebika Bya ba Kuchu mu Buganda (Kuchu Clans of Buganda) 2020

Oct. 11–Nov. 29, 2020

Did I Ever Have a Chance?

Helène Aylon, Leilah Babirye, Jenny Holzer, Otis Houston Jr., Corita Kent, Clifford Prince King, Reverend Joyce McDonald, Lorraine O'Grady, Martha Rosler, Hannah Wilke, David Wojnarowicz, Martin Wong

Aug. 15–Sept. 19, 2020

A Page From My Intimate Journal (Part II) —

Wilder Alison, Leilah Babirye, Matt Connors, Jenni Crain, Stephanie Crawford, Florence Derive, DW Fitzpatrick, Gillian Garcia, Daniel Marcellus Givens, Janice Guy, Otis Houston Jr., Miles Huston, KIOSK, Marco ter Haar Romeny, Clifford Prince King, Elisabeth Kley, Wayne Koestenbaum, Siobhan Liddell, Rosemary Mayer, McDermott & McGough, Reverend Joyce McDonald, Matt Paweski, Signe Olson, Sanou Oumar, Kerry Schuss, Dean Spunt, Tabboo!, Ken Tisa, Boris Torres, Frederick Weston

Mar. 1–Apr. 19, 2020

Nobody's World group exhibition

Etel Adnan, Leilah Babirye, Beverly Buchanan, Leidy Churchman, Marley Freeman, Magdalena Suarez Frimkess, Robert Gober, Gordon Hall, Judy Linn, Mary Manning, Donald Moffett, Monique Mouton, Signe Olson, Gertrude Parker, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Sue Tompkins

Mar. 3–Apr. 21, 2019

Leilah Babirye

Amatwaale Ga Ssekabaka Mwanga II (The Empire of King Mwanga II)

Apr. 29–June 24, 2018


Dallas Art Fair

Apr. 21–Apr. 23, 2023

Independent New York: Leilah Babirye and Gerald Jackson

Sept. 9–Sept. 12, 2021


May 1, 2020

NADA Miami: Leilah Babirye

Dec. 5–Dec. 8, 2019

Summer Viewing Room

July 15–Aug. 12, 2019

Leilah Babirye: In Conversation

May 20, 2018

NADA Miami: Leilah Babirye, DW Fitzpatrick

Dec. 7–Dec. 10, 2017


Sept. 16, 2017

Let Go Or Be Dragged

Mar. 2–Mar. 5, 2017


Leilah Babirye, Leilah Babirye


Stephen Friedman Gallery, London and Gordon Robichaux


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Gordon Robichaux