Visual artist Admire Kamudzengerere, who is set to exhibit his works at the Catinca Tabacaru Gallery in New York, beginning tomorrow, said his father’s death inspired him to take up art.
He said after losing his father, he started trying to make his images by sketching features that were common between them.
“When my father passed away, I started making monotype self-portraits while looking in the mirror, searching for my father’s image in my own features.
“My hand moved, almost on its own accord, compulsively drawing on paper placed upon an ink stone to create the visage simultaneously as its reversed image on the other side of the sheet,” he said.
He said after drawing those features, the end result was a series of dark portraits which ended up looking less familiar.
“The result is a series of dark portraits, sometimes made by a single line; they are the pieces of a universal puzzle invoking a unifying human thread. With time, the sought-after face becomes less familiar, leaving space for strangers to appear.
“What is most extraordinary is that, without knowing who these strangers are or could be, I continued to see myself in them.”
He added that the reversed image on the other side of the page or on the other face fuels his non-linear narrative.
In “I am gonna . . . you. Till you run”, his first solo exhibition, in New York City at Catinca Tabacaru Gallery, the 35-year-old artist presents a myriad of new portraits on paper particles ranging from “Post-Its to pages” to “Harare’s phone books”.
He tackles issues of identity, migration and family, the three inseparable forces that control his ability and choice to move about the world. This new work, consumed with the idea of self-confrontation with the multiple, is faithful to an older governing principle of his practice where he uses numbers. For example in a phone book, numbers are a metaphor for the tiny transformations and differences between the things that identify and designate us.
The title of the show plays with the untold fears and fantasies of otherness. What they know about us; what they share with us; what they can with or to us.
Kamudzengerere was the first Zimbabwean to be invited to the prestigious Rijksakademie exhibition in Amsterdam in 2012. His work has been exhibited internationally and is one of the four artists that will represent Zimbabwe at the 57th Venice Biennial.