Africa First x Gordon Gallery
Opening reception: Thursday, March 31, 2022, at 7 PM
Sunday-Tuesday by appointment
Tafadzwa Masudi (b. 1988) was born in Zimbabwe and lives in Cape Town, South Africa.
The title of his current body of work is Pakutsvaga (On a quest).
“Circumstances forced me to leave my country of birth and become a migrant. I relate to people who had to travel elsewhere to create a better life and this is what I currently paint. Images that show their sense of self, their dreams and their aspirations.”
His brightly colored paintings depict scenes filled with balloons, people and patterns. Observed through the lens of a migrant person existing in a foreign land, the works reflect on optimism and the pursuit of a better future.
“The balloons are not just masks of optimism or celebration; they also represent the composed pressure under which some of us are. A balloon can pop any moment, yet it represents happiness and celebration. That balloon is me staying calm under difficult circumstances while chasing the dream of a bright future”.
“When I paint women, I think about the role they played in my life and how I was inspired by the ones who raised me. Their dedication and effort and their struggle to be independent in a patriarchal environment made a huge impression on me. I felt compelled to create images of courageous and confident women. Women who stand in power and who can be themselves with pride and dignity. As man it is my duty to respect the ones that nurture and bring forth life. My mom and aunts also used to travel to neighboring countries Botswana and Mozambique to sell the crochet doilies they made. I use the patterns of these doilies in my paintings as a further reference to their struggle. Its flower-like designs and the flowers I often add symbolize the opportunities at hand and taking advantage of it.”
Masudi’s paintings remind us that people are more than what popular narratives about their places of origin suggest. Through his lens, people are presented as individuals with pride, dreams and optimism.