VISUAL ARTIST: Tafadzwa Gweta

Kwanthuthu Arts Magazine June 2012

“I THINK THEREFORE I AM”

My art is based on the philosophy of existentialist thought. Inspired by the concept coined by philosophers such as Jean-Paul Sartre and Rene Descartes, “I think therefore I am”. This idea gave rise to diverse questions that challenged the reality and existence of matter and mankind. We are constantly challenged in this life that we live to prove one’s existence through actions and physical possessions.

I approached the issues of identity as a means of questioning our contemporary life in modern Africa. As a result of encounter people are constantly challenged to redefine themselves. Encounter with cultures, fashion, technology, language, and religion. Through my exploration of modern African identity, my art was characterized by the use of symbols. Recognizable symbols such as letters, numbers, images signs and fingerprints.

As an artist, my search is for absolute expressiveness and concept through my exploration and fusion of graffiti and fine art in relation to identity within society. I explore how mankind manipulates their existence by changing their environment and how they are affected by it. My art is driven by ‘existentialist ideals’. Therefore, time, space and context can be perceived as integral for the justification of my art.

I have had a fascination with the use of masks fused with text and identity numbers with fingerprints. Elements that combine to affirm our existence. Our computer and scientific generation have seen the world digitalized and documents and paperwork and numbers are the new forms of asserting our existence. Gra ti has been an area that has very prominent traces of human existence that highlight characteristics such as emotion, time, situation and context. Accompanied by the use of images and signs, a composition is created based on recognizable symbols that effectively communicate a state of mind or a state of existence. My core challenge is to nd the balance between art as being merely an aesthetic object and art that possesses a functional quality.

Recent paintings of mine have a fusion of science and art. The element of the contemporary identity which is based on the systematic documentation of individuals and of how the world is supported by it. I challenge that which questions our identity and requires our personal details. Our authentic identity has been used with what I like to call ‘a forensic’ approach where I explore our identity by focusing on the fingerprint and placing an emphasis on individual uniqueness.