Redefining Balance - Tafadzwa Gwetai - 3D virtual exhibition by EARTHworks [Artists]

Redefining Balance - Tafadzwa Gwetai

Tue, 12/15/2020 to Wed, 01/13/2021

curated by:

An exhibition of work by Tafadzwa Gwetai

Presented by EARTHworks [Artists]
In partnership with arc Gallery London

Tafadzwa Gwetai is a painter and sculptor based in his native Zimbabwe. His artistic and cultural influences extend to wider Southern Africa - from San to Shona, to Ndebele cultures. Gwetai has come through these traditions onto an energetic contemporary art scene.

Gwetai paints on duplex board, a heavy compressed paper that is typically used for packaging and commercial display, offering a soft sheen on one surface. He understands the nature of the material, fully exploiting its possibilities to realise an alluring style. The paint is lightly applied, giving the appearance of resistance, resulting in an intermittent, luminous effect. Compositions are populated with floating and fragmented forms – incisions of line drawing and subtle bas-relief. Collaged pieces depict figures that are lifted further from the surface. The introduction of interlocking panels – the jigsaw tabs and blanks are an effective device in Redefining Balance. This further signifies preservation of tangible heritage, familial bonds and “existential completeness”.

Redefining Balance acknowledges history and cultural traditions, then interrogates their combined impact in forming a sense of identity, primarily grounded within African philosophy and presented as four propositions: The Matrix examines virtual identities created by the digital and internet world. Encounters versus Tradition considers the historical impact of capitalism, colonialism, and imperialism, then contrasts these with traditional or indigenous practices. Numbers & Symbols observes the various ways in which society replaces individuals with proxies – certain signs, tags and numerical labels. Balance as implied, provides the scales by which the three other elements are perceived and interpreted. These can be approached as historical documentary or individual routes to appreciate Gwetai’s explorations.

Redefining Balance originates from conversations in 2015 between Tafadzwai Gwetai in Bulawayo and fellow-Zimbabwean, Gaynor Tutani in London. The collaboration that emerged much later from their respective geographic locations – African continent versus Diaspora, was in recognition of these contrasting standpoints. This awareness led them to appreciate the universality and stabilising influences of all cultural memory and how these lived experiences can shape, preserve, or diminish an individual’s understanding of identity. Through these conversations they coined the term ‘Redefining Balance’, which according to them is a process that one continues to experience as they make sense of the world and the notion of self.

Curated by Jean Joseph & Gaynor Tutani
Concept: Gaynor Tutani
Text: Jean Joseph
IG: @earthworks_ldn.


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