Spier Arts Trust artist shines at the 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair in London

Spier Arts Trust artist shines at the 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair in London
Adolf Tega Thanks

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, whose 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 the 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair in London in October last year, garnering positive responses from international art lovers and critics alike.

The 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair is the only international art fair dedicated to contemporary art from Africa and its diaspora. Nando’s and the Spier Arts Trust returned to the acclaimed fair in 2022 as sponsors, 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.

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.

Tega was invited to participate in Spier Arts Trust’s Creative Block programme, in which artists interprets blocks of specific sizes in any way they choose, using any medium and focusing on any subject. The best blocks are curated and purchased, and some of these become part of the Nando’s collection. This gave Tega the 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, in this way helping emerging artists take the next step in their careers.

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 on South Korea.

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