Tafadzwa Tega

Zuva

Africa First x Gordon Gallery

HaPelech St 6, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel

Sunday-Tuesday by appointment
Wednesday-Thursday 11:00-17:00
Friday 10:00-14:00
Saturday 10:00-13:00

For the artist’s first exhibition in Israel we are pleased to present a selection of mixed media paintings. Titled Zuva (which means sun or daylight), the exhibition speaks to the struggles and dreams of the people of Zimbabwe.

For the artist’s first exhibition in Israel we are pleased to present a selection of mixed media paintings. Titled Zuva (which means sun or daylight), the exhibition speaks to the struggles and dreams of the people of Zimbabwe.

Political and economic instability over several decades has forced many Zimbabweans, the artist himself, and some family members, to migrate. Finding themselves in foreign countries – and, often, subjected to poor working and living conditions – Zimbabweans learn how to make ends meet while, at the same time, not forgo ambition. These opposing currents – joy and desire on the one hand; exploitation and alienation on the other – often come to be represented in photographs. In these photographs, people dress their best; they choose glamorous settings for backgrounds; they pose. Tega’s paintings are based off of these photographs, conveying his countrymen’s resilience and determination to live (or, at least, to project) a better life. Dreams are forged in darkness and realized in the light: Zuva.

The zumbani (tea leaf from the fever tree) composes the background of each portrait. Zumbani is a medicinal plant that for generations has been used to provide relief from various illnesses such as coughs, colds, headaches and, most recently, COVID-19. While its effectiveness has been disputed, Tega refers to zumbani symbolically. “We, as Zimbabweans, are scattered across the globe; zumbani reminds us of the places where we grew up, our mothers and grandmothers who prepared this herb for us when we took ill. In this way, the flower connects us to home and ancestry. It is a sign of national identity founded on the basis of care and, thus, serves as a talisman against grief.”

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