Admire Kamudzengerere’s work explores identity, politics, and society, often informed by the multifaceted structural and social issues that have marked Zimbabwe’s last decade. Working in various media, he frequently reveals an unequal world in which the powerful ride roughshod over the weak.
The paintings, drawings, and photographs that make up my practice grow out of close observation of my surroundings, an awareness of the past, and memory. I am fascinated with the materiality of color and light, the mysteries of proportion and scale, and the relative and often great distance between two points in close proximity to each other. It is my hope to make present in the work the moments of equilibrium, the rhythms of disclosure, and the different realities that I discover in the act of looking and making. I hope these discoveries, evolving over time, will prompt recognition on the part of the viewer, as they have in me.
Traversing boundaries, cultures gained and cultures lost, and sensations across time and space are continual themes in my work. I left India at age eight and, ever since, have worked to reconcile what has been lost and found. My work is a continual meditation on memory and the body using line, color and form. Each work begins with raw materials: wood panels cut from prefabricated doors, beeswax from local farms, damar crystals and basic color pigments. In natural light, these paintings carry a translucency created by pigments suspended in beeswax, evoking sensuousness, depth, and personal reflection. In 2018, I began a series of brown encaustic color studies to explore the limits of a single color’s expression. The series is a response to mass disenfranchisement under Trump and growing xenophobia against brown skin. To some, brown is beautiful. To others, it is dirty; the outsider, the enemy. These color studies mirror the skin of the NYC public school students I teach. By layering and blending loving and hateful associations to “Brown,” I have developed a personal meditation on Otherness. These meditations on “Brown” have naturally incorporated expressions of isolation, anxiety, and calm emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic.