WHATIFTHEWORLD is pleased to present 'Across Boarders' an exhibition of new work by Moffat Takadiwa.
'Across Borders' is the latest instalment of an on going series of works that have been the focus of Takadiwa’s practice for the last six years.
Takadiwa’s process involves contemplating the lives of objects, specifically the arc of imported consumer goods through the cycle of production, consumption and disposal. In particular Takadiwa has focused on the mass influx of Chinese produced consumer goods into Zimbabwe’s economy. Though part of a much wider global phenomenon, it is not without political significance when considering Zimbabwe’s “Look East Policy” and its dependence on China as a trade partner because of politically motivated trade embargos with western nations.
The inferior quality of many of these products (including pharmaceutical goods) is in part due to the standard of commodity that can be purchased in Zimbabwe’s current economic climate, and lax controls regarding production standards of imported goods, the result is an increasingly shorter life cycle from purchase to dump in “disposable” consumer goods.
Takadiwa is concerned with repositioning himself and by extension the inhabitants of Zimbabwe’s urban metropolises as cultural producers rather than passive consumers. His work is a homage a to Zimbabwe’s rich history of craft and highly skilled artisans and asserting his own position as an adaptable contemporary continuation of that heritage.
Over and above his observation and objection to Zimbabwe becoming a dumping ground for cheap products, his work also serves as a potent reminder of micro economies of trade. These throw away consumer remnants are imbedded with a far broader significance of the social, political and economic conditions faced by ordinary Zimbabweans. They are significant markers of the daily struggle faced by communities and the vendors that supply to them through the cash and carry trade of small items.
Formally influenced by his experience as a child growing up surrounded by products in his father’s hardware store, Takadiwa has used the formal massing and catagorisation of objects to articulate concerns regarding not only patterns of consumerism and how they reflect societies desires but also the way in which information is transmitted and received often in a one sided exchange. In his process of accumulation, culling, and manipulation of debris Takadiwa makes a pointed critique of product as tools for a new form of cultural and economic colonialism.
Moffat Takadiwa was born in Karoi, Zimbabwe in 1983 and lives and works in Harare. A representative of the born-free generation of artists, he is perhaps one of the most geographically widely exhibited and collected of the post-independence generation. Takadiwa has exhibited in all the major institutions in Zimbabwe and for the past several years he has been steadily attracting international attention with exhibitions in Bangkok, Paris, Amsterdam, New York, London, Berlin and Johannesburg.