Tendai Mupita works in a visual language that contemplates meditative states. His practice combines drawing, painting and printing on paper. Mupita grounds his conceptions in the traditional spiritual practices of African societies, particularly his native Shona culture. His research into the underlying basis of fractals, particular to African cultural practices from basketweaving to architecture, has inspired compositions in which similar patterns recur at progressively smaller scales.
Mupita’s art practice draws on the mystical and spiritual orgins of patterns as the source of traditional knowledge systems. Symmetry is a common trait in many traditional cultures but fractal design and systems are unique to African design traditions. Fractals, found in natural formations like the snowflake, are also a mathematical characteristic of contemporary technology. Mupita’s use of fractals aims to reflect the ways mathematics and culture connect past rituals with new cultural algorithms.
Mupita often draws inspiration from what he terms ‘sitting still and having conversation prayer’ in traditional architectural spaces and in sacred spaces in nature. His use of colour is one that disrupts a complacency of cultured vision. There is a loss of locality in accordance with the meditative or trance state in which alternative realities can be accessed. The human body becomes enmeshed with animalistic spiritual consciousness resulting in forms that are seductively complex in both origin and execution.
Tendai Mupita insists that he didn’t chose art, art chose him. He began his studies following a bachelor of science degree at Chinhoyi University of Technology in Zimbabwe and graduated with a Fine Art degree in 2015. Mupita’s subsequent print-making experiences during an internship at David Krut Projects (2013) and as print assistant to artists at Artist Proof Studio (2013) have honed his skills in etching, monotype, linocut and colliography. He has participated in residencies at the Bag Factory, Johannesburg (2017) and Greatmore Studios, Cape Town (2017) as well as the Skowhegan School of Painting and sculpture, Maine, USA (2019).
SELECTED PROJECTS & EXHIBITIONS
2018 – ‘Collectors group show David Altman’ LA, USA; ‘Lines and form 2,’ Gallery Delta, Zimbabwe; ‘Paper tiger’ First Floor gallery, Harare; ‘Harare contemporary’ Circle art agency, Nairobi; ‘Turbine artfair’ Johannesburg. 2017 - ‘Fractalities’ (solo) First Floor gallery, Harare; ‘Solstice’ ODA gallery, Franschoek; ‘Featuring artist’ David Krut gallery, Johannesburg,‘Turbine artfair’ Johannesburg. 2016 - ‘Surface Drawing’ Unhu Village, Harare; ‘Shift” Assemblage Gallery and Studios, Johannesburg. 2015 - ‘Young artist’ Gallery Delta, Harare; ‘Lines and Form’ Gallery Delta, Harare; ‘HIFA’ First Floor Gallery, Harare. 2014 -‘Unspoken language’ (solo) First floor Gallery, Harare; ‘Young artist’ Gallery Delta, Harare; ‘Annual Exhibition’ National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Harare.