Art & Design

Spier Arts Trust artist Tafadzwa Tega shines in London

April 12, 2023

The zumbani flower – the bloom of the ‘wonder herb’ fevertea tree, Lippia javanica – is an important totem in the works of Zimbabwean artist Tafadzwa Tega. He’s bold and colourful paintings, often coupled with intricate floral backgrounds inspired by the flower, delve into topics such as cultural identity, faith and customs, and the impact of migration and displacement. His brightly coloured portraits certainly stood out at the 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair in London in October last year, garnering positive responses from international art lovers and critics alike.

Tafadzwa Tega
Maideyi (2022) by Tafadzwa Tega Acrylic paint on canvas
700 x 600 mm
Nando’s UK collection

The 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair is the only international art fair dedicated to African and diaspora contemporary art. As sponsors, Nando’s and the Spier Arts Trust returned to the acclaimed fair in 2022, bringing Tega’s work to this international stage. Tega exhibited alongside 130 artists from 50 international galleries, including established artists such as Ibrahim El-Salahi, Hassan Hajjaj and South Africa’s own Zanele Muholi, and fellow newcomers Sola Olulode and Pedro Neves.

Tafadzwa Tega
Confession (2018) by Tafadzwa Tega Oil paint on canvas
1300 x 1600 mm
Nando’s UK collection

Tafadzwa Tega – the man behind the art

Born in Harare, Tega obtained a diploma in Fine Art from the National Gallery of Zimbabwe in 2006, specialising in painting and sculpture, and the following year participated in his first group show at the gallery. Relocating to Cape Town — where he is currently based — he continued honing his skills as an artist, establishing a distinctive style of vibrant portraiture showcasing the daily experiences of black individuals.

Tafadzwa Tega
Eviction (2018) by Tafadzwa Tega Oil paint on canvas
1400 x 1600 mm
Nando’s UK collection

Tega was invited to participate in Spier Arts Trust’s Creative Block programme, where artists interpret blocks of specific sizes in any way they choose, using any medium and focusing on any subject. The best blocks are curated and purchased; some become part of the Nando’s collection. This gave Tega a chance to sell his art locally and gradually build up confidence in his practice.

In 2020 Tega was selected as one of the four participants in Nando’s Creative Exchange, a programme that offers mentorship opportunities and art materials sponsorship, culminating in a group exhibition, helping emerging artists take the next step in their careers.

Tafadzwa Tega
Thanks (2019) by Tafadzwa Tega Oil paint on canvas
1200 x 800 mm
Nando’s RSA collection

Tega has participated in several group and solo exhibitions across South Africa, including Africa without Borders at Gallery MOMO in Cape Town in 2019 and with Everard Read at FNB Art Joburg in 2022. Internationally, the Zimbabwean artist’s work has been shown at JD Malat Gallery in London, Mimmo Scognamiglio in Milan and Gallery Daisy on Jeju Island in South Korea.

We look forward to seeing Tega continue to grow his artistic practice and flourish on the international stage.

Image above:

Tea Time (2020) by Tafadzwa Tega Oil paint on canvas
1200 x 1300 mm
Nando’s RSA collection

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