By Emmanuel KaNdlovu
Visual Artist, painter and graphic designer, Talent Kapadza, is elated having been nominated for two awards for this year’s National Arts Merit Awards (NAMA).
Kapadza, who is nominated in the Outstanding Two Dimensional work and Outstanding Exhibition categories for his Revolutionary Freshness collection, shared he is happy and encouraged that his hard work is being recognised.
“It is a great achievement to be nominated for the NAMAs. I got an award last year for the outstanding solo exhibition and this nomination speaks to my consistency and is such a huge inspiration for me to keep working towards reaching my goals while making history,” Kapadza said.
Bagging these awards would be a much welcome birthday present for him as the Awards ceremony is slated for the day after his birthday.
“It’s a leap year, a year of mystery and I believe it is going to be a good and interesting one at that,” he added.
Elaborating more on his double nominated exhibition, Kapadza revealed the link between this work of art and one of his previous collections.
He said the Revolutionary Freshness collection is in fact a journey from some of his Grotesque pieces he created two years ago when he came up with the concept of distorted personalities.
“The collection is all about looking at some things with a new perspective. Initially the pieces were faces made from empty potato pockets to create an abstract work. It was a fragile piece that could not be carried all over for exhibitions and so the idea of the Revolutionary Freshness then came from the concept of simplifying this abstract work into an oil application. It really was an exploration in transitioning the potato pockets and found objects to oil.”
He also revealed the other driving force behind this move was to make the collection more archivable as opposed to the fragile pieces that evidently have a shorter lifespan.
Kapadza can easily be described as a conceptual artist; as such this dual nomination could not have been more befitting.
A resident artist with the National Gallery in Bulawayo (NGB), he has been breathing life to his masterpieces from the space since 2014 and is appreciative of all the different programs that are put in place for the benefit of all resident artists.
“The Gallery benefits us in so many ways. They facilitate workshops and exhibitions where we get to showcase our works. We enjoy a mutually beneficial relationship with the Gallery, instead of being invited to exhibit; we really work together with the institution every step of the way that leads to the exhibitions.”
“They take their time to know the artist and help us address some of the challenges we face and afford us space to facilitate our own exhibitions as well.”
In coming up with his art, which can be largely described as contemporarily African, Kapadza uses mixed media including enhanced photographic images and clear vinyl on mirror.
He describes his art as a movement, a neo-iconoclasm movement, where each and every piece depicts a certain movement, energy or rhythm.
Kapadza is big on documenting and the biggest tool he uses for this is his camera. He refuses to be tagged as a photographer as he believes putting tags often leads to limitations on artistic freedom. In fighting these limitations, he also studies a lot so as to add that universal panache to his art.
As an avid researcher, his deep roots in different studies have earned him numerous honors with different local and international art bodies and such an investment into his craft has also earned him numerous awards. His multi-concerted works have earned him a NAMA, a Wild Geese Art Festival award, Intwasa Arts Festival recognition and nods from other awards bodies that include the Bulawayo Arts Awards (BAAs).
Kapadza is currently working on his 10 year project titled Heal the World that he started in 2016. Each year the project carries different themes and all the different artworks collected throughout the 10 year period will be showcased in a grand finale exhibition.
The 19th edition of the NAMAs will be held on the 29th of February at the Harare International Conference Centre (HICC) in what has been described as the climax of the awards season.
The NGB is rooting for Kapadza to walk away with both the awards he has been nominated for.
“We take this opportunity to congratulate our resident artist Talent Kapadza for his dual National Arts Merit Awards nomination… Bring the awards home Talent!” reads a tweet shared by the NGB earlier this month.