Facing South: Mythical Mindscapes
8215 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90046
Rele Gallery Los Angeles is pleased to present Facing South: Mythical Mindscapes, the first in a series of group exhibitions featuring works by artists from Southern Africa. Exploring ideas of hybridity, spirituality and the metaphysical as well as critiquing entrenched forms of Western ideology, the exhibition — running from May 6th to May 27th — presents works from the Tendai Mupita, Quamani Bangani and Kay Gasei.
Tendai Mupita is a multi-disciplinary Zimbabwean artist who creates allegorical sculptures and paintings. His works explore meditative practices contrasted against the busy collective psyche of contemporary Zimbabwean society; he interrogates post-colonial systems that threaten to erase indigenous knowledge systems and practices. Mupita uses various mediums and bright evocative colors situating human and animal forms against backdrops of traditional architectural and sacred spaces in nature. These forms often come together to form complex human-animal hybrids representative of the amalgamation of indigenous and contemporary ideologies. His works are dynamically composed of repeating small circles and continuous lines that make reference to native Shona Culture. Embedded in his works are symbols, totemic symbols, ancient language systems and indigenous motifs that highlight ancient African traditions.
South African artist Qhamani Bangani explores the metaphysical and spiritual realms in his dreamscape paintings. Through his experience of lucid dreaming he explores the relationship between humans, animals and spirits. This world is transferred through his paintings where he creates inconspicuous portraits of humans and animals. These portraits are camouflaged by bustling scenes made up of gestural strokes of deep blues, bright pinks and luscious greens - alluding to pastures for praying, feeding and playing. His creative process is a cathartic one that allows him to express and heal challenging emotions, encounter his fears - transforming them into loving tokens - and experience his ancestors who provide him with guidance.
Kay Gasei is a British-Zambian artist who explores myths and narratives through symbolism, recurring motifs and nondescript characters. He creates monochromatic prints with brief accents of color that highlight historical happenings. Through the use of spacing, color and texture Gasei presents psychological narratives that critique cultural capital and illicit wonder. Bold figures representative of the Black body are displayed with various means of transportation. Gasei depicts graphs that illustrate the relationships between abstract concepts, questioning socio-political progress. His works are self-reflective and attempt to tap into a lexicon of subconscious languages, inviting viewers to impart their own meaning on the deeply psychological scenes.