“I’m not just making objects, but statements meant to change the lives of my people, the image of my country and the world at large”

 Moffat Takadiwa

The artist Moffat Takadiwa from Zimbabwe creates monumental objects from items found in landfills, giving discarded items a second life. Takadiwa’s mosaics consist of meticulously arranged sequences of computer keys, plastic caps, metal bottle caps, toothbrushes and other discarded objects.

Artistic recycling is a creative manifesto that delves into Takadiwa’s ethnic roots. The artist emphasizes that the concept of recycling waste is deeply rooted in many indigenous African cultures. A profound respect for nature, transmitted across generations, is evident in diverse environmental practices that aim to minimize waste of food and everyday items. The artist’s technique references traditional Zimbabwean craftsmanship and the arrangement of patterns evokes African textiles.

Takadiwa’s recycled objects are not merely a tribute to traditions; they also contain a sharp socio-political commentary. The artist highlights the millions of tons of waste that are uncontrollably exported to Africa, the resulting deterioration of the ecological situation in his country and the global consequences of irresponsible resource and waste management worldwide.

The work “The Brain Drain,” composed of Takadiwa’s signature material – computer keys – addresses another issue widely explored by the artist beyond its ecological message: the problem of language in the context of Zimbabwe’s colonial past. For Takadiwa, language is not only a carrier of culture but also a forger of values through which people perceive the world and their place in it. By dismantling sets of English keyboards and arranging their fragments into alternative configurations, the artist metaphorically deconstructs colonial cultural heritage.

The title “The Brain Drain” critiques the tendency of the younger generation of African creators and intellectuals to emigrate and abandon the idea of developing their native countries based on local culture. Moffat Takadiwa emphasizes that his mission is to build Zimbabwe’s artistic community, promote African culture worldwide and raise awareness of issues that are unjustly overlooked in the global artistic discourse.

In 2024, Moffat Takadiwa’s works were showcased in the Zimbabwe Pavilion at the Venice Biennale (watch artim) as part of the exhibition “Undone”. The central theme of this exhibition was the deconstruction of rigid worldviews and the exploration of ways to create an alternative, better future.

More about Moffat Takadiwa’s art:

Watch: https://www.youtube.com/

Read: https://www.gq.co.za/culture/meet-moffat-takadiwa

Pavilion at the Venice Biennale: https://www.labiennale.org/en/art/2024/zimbabwe-republic

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