Our friend in South Africa, artist Tendai Makufa has been very busy this past month creating two new paintings for us to appreciate and reflect on.
Let's Close the Gap was created using acrylic decorative paint on canvas, 50 x 40 cm.
Tendai lives in South Africa but was born in Zimbabwe where the inspiration and narrative for his evocative paintings emanate from.
As Tendai explains to us:
By "Public Demand" the painting is about the future of our generations!!! I put an example, African Continent, the horn of (Africa), back to back, "Poor and Rich""... the gap is becoming bigger!!!! Together we can "Close The Gap"...
The gap between "rich and poor" is getting wider... more and more rich and poor ... shrinking out the middle class which will be no more....
Together we can fight this!!!!!!
When you look at a painting by Tendai Makufa you are immediately drawn to the vibrance or colour and intricacy of pattern. And the narrative compositions are perfect weaving the stories of the peoples of Zimbabwe as they struggle to survive in a fast changing world.
This painting, although clearly created in the Tendai Makufa style, is very different to previous works. The cry for help from the heart stretches out across the canvas to the world - symbolised in the outreaching arms which in dramatic contrast highlight the clutching of empty bowls on the left with the fruits of the rich on the right.
The background underlay representing the map of Africa (or any poor country) binds the historical narrative with the stark message help us by working together.
Tendai's second painting for this month has an equally powerful message - Think Beyond Poverty.
Think beyond Poverty was also created using acrylic decorative paint on canvas,
70 x 50cm.
Again By Public Demand Tendai speaks directly to the people:
The story is about... You might be in difficult situation (Poverty). Try to think and use what you have!!! You might look forward, whilst you are sitting on the resources that are useful!!! That can shift you to a better level!! I hope you will enjoy!!!!! Thank you!!!
Tendai's motif of the Zimbabwe women working in the fields, tending their crops is once more dominant as are the empty baskets waiting to be filled with the fruits of the labour. But as Tendai implores: Try to think and use what you have ... to help create a better way forward.
And I couldn't agree more no matter what the personal or world problem we are facing. Start with what you know and have... and build upon this towards the light.
As I said recently to Tendai - his paintings bring joy to my heart and to the heart of others. Even though behind the images and messages are startling statistics of inequality Tendai is working with every inch of his body and mind to make a difference. We love him for his commitment to his people and to the world of art - please applaud this remarkable man and artist.