Adolf Tega: Mwana wevhu (Son of the Soil)
Gallery MOMO is proud to present Mwana wevhu (Son of the Soil), an online solo exhibition by Adolf Tega.
Characterised by Tega’s faculty to appraise life spiritually and philosophically, ‘Mwana wevhu’ is a Shona expression that translates to ‘Son of the Soil’. The exhibition probes a range of themes about the human condition including memories, culture, religion and tradition. Tega tackles identity, global migration and displacement as he explores untapped potential, new beginnings and legacy.
There is much cognisance to gain from Tega’s relationship with colour. When we view it through his eyes we discover profound passions, inescapable obsessions and ardent notions about the potency of it. In an attempt to reconcile his multicultural background and life, Tega draws inspiration from Impressionism and Post-impressionism. Tega provides examples of the use of analogous and complementary colours to create energy and bold contrast with a sense of harmony in his visual storytelling. His use of colour and form serve to express determination and will, as well as passages of quiet and calmness.
Tega’s body of work is radiant, hopeful, resilient and emancipatory with a retro sensibility. Deeply personal, the imagery oscillates between flamboyant and wistful. His subjects are sometimes recollected from flashbacks of family members or other human encounters whose migration stories are relayed on canvas. In this body of work, he introduces personal figures like his uncle who migrated to South Africa from Zimbabwe in the 1970s captured in Daydreamer and his friend Makoti whose ambitions were never actualized when she migrated. In that sense, he illustrates the myriad trajectories humans follow – and probes what is and what is wished for.
His subjects take centre stage to narrate their story, always poised, fashionably dressed and resilient but never victimized. Tega’s oeuvre is filled with symbolism, with flame lilies and piles of books accompanying his figures. For Tega, the flower is a symbol of collectivity, healing and renewal, whilst the books betoken the potential to be and become.
At the age of ten, Adolf Tega (born in Harare 1985) started creating art influenced by his uncle and brother, who are also artists. Tega studied art at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, where he participated in his first group exhibition. In 2008 Tega moved to South Africa, later joining Good Hope Art Studio. Tega recently exhibited with Gallery Momo at the FNB Joburg Art Fair 2019 and Investec Cape Town Art Fair 2020. His work can be found in several prominent private collections, including the Leridon Collection, Paris and the Spier Collection in Cape Town and London.
Adolf Tega: Mwana wevhu (Son of the Soil) runs until 16 July 2020 at Gallery MOMO.
April 19, 2021
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