Moffat Takadiwa is an artist from Harare, Zimbabwean known for creating intricate, tapestry-like sculptures. He skillfully transforms discarded household and industrial waste into intricate sculptures, creating thought-provoking artworks that explore themes of colonialism, consumerism, and environmental concerns. From a distance, Takadiwa’s sculptures may initially appear to be conventional textile works, but upon closer examination, the viewer discovers that they are composed of small fragments of human debris. These fragments can range from discarded soda cans to toothbrushes and various other discarded items. By using these materials, Takadiwa aims to initiate a dialogue around colonial residue in Africa, the lasting effects of colonialism in Africa and the challenges it presents in contemporary African society, with a particular focus on Zimbabwe.
Since obtaining his BA from Harare Polytechnic College in 2008, Moffat Takadiwa has established himself as a prominent figure in the Zimbabwean contemporary art scene. He has exhibited his works extensively and has gained recognition for his innovative use of materials and the depth of his conceptual exploration. Takadiwa’s artistic practice not only addresses important socio-political issues, it also showcases the beauty that can be found in repurposed and recycled materials.
Moffat Takadiwa’s practice resonates with the ideals and goals of the Rhodes Must Fall movement in South Africa, which calls for the decolonization of education and a reevaluation of institutionalised knowledge to create a new language of independence. Takadiwa pays homage to the cultural history of Zimbabwe by drawing inspiration for his artistic expression from the indigenous craft, particularly the basket weaving techniques used by artisans in Zimbabwe’s Hurungwe district. Beyond his personal artistic practice, Takadiwa has also made significant contributions to the artistic community in Zimbabwe. He co-founded First Floor Gallery in Harare in 2010, an art space that serves as a platform for emerging artists to showcase their work.
Aside from their aesthetic appeal, Takadiwa’s works offer insights into the economic, historical, and social currents and connections within Zimbabwe. HIs works sheds light on the pressing issues of widespread dumping grounds, the detrimental effects on local businesses, and the environmental degradation that accompanies them. Takadiwa believes that his tapestries present a paradox and a contrast between the necessities and vanities of everyday households, highlighting the confusing line between access and poverty. His art speaks to the complex relationship between material consumption and waste, and the profound impact it has on society and the environment.
Takadiwa’s artistic process is labor-intensive and it involves meticulous attention to detail. From collecting discarded trash to assembling his intricate sculptures, the process is a systematic and collaborative effort. Starting with the careful sorting of the variety of trash collected, the materials are organized by color and texture after which the pieces are assembled. The assembling involves drilling, gluing, and threading the various components together in spirals, grids, and crisscross patterns that intertwine endlessly to create visually captivating and intricate designs. To add an additional layer of texture and visual interest, the sculptures are often anchored to fishing nets. To execute this labor-intensive process, Takadiwa relies on the support of approximately 30 collaborators. Some of these collaborators scour public dumps, searching for discarded materials that can be repurposed for the works and others assist in the assembly of the artworks.
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