Combinatul Fondului Plastic
Extended Hours

Vestiges of Colonialism

With Moffat Takadiwa
Moffat Takadiwa transforms post-consumer waste—used toothbrushes, bottle tops, computer keyboards, and so forth—into lush, densely layered sculptures and tapestry-like wall works that embody the complexities of contemporary Zimbabwean politics, culture, and reference his Korekore heritage. Takadiwa grew up surrounded by farms and farmers. They represent some of the many colonial systems still present in the country. Powers from both East and West claimed most of the country’s rich and fertile lands, and took advantage of cheap local labor to capitalize commercial crops like tobacco, cotton, and maize. They profited greatly while the local communities suffered. Takadiwa’s practice is a commentary on his country’s current state of affairs, a critical observance that democracy in Zimbabwe and other African nations with similar histories only survive through the leftovers of colonial dispensation and the crumbs of a traumatic history. To the artist, when economies are patched together from remnants from a sordid, colonial past, it makes it easier to overlook the west’s lasting and overbearing influence over an independent Africa. Vestiges of Colonialism, his third solo exhibition with Nicodim and his first in Bucharest, confronts what Takadiwa sees as the urgent need to eliminate the remnants of colonialism in Africa and cure the continent from its colonial hangover. The recycled materials that make his artworks symbolize, in part, the transfer of power from Europe and how their waste swallowed the Zimbabwean landscape and handicapped their initial attempts at self-rule. This exhibition marks an effort to repurpose the detritus and the ashes of a sordid past to fertilize a brighter future.

Tell us about Nicodim.

Mihai Nicodim opened his first contemporary art gallery in 2006 in Los Angeles with a focus on exposing emerging American, African, Asian, and European artists to an international audience. Nicodim opened a Bucharest gallery in 2014 and expanded to an additional location in New York in 2021. The gallery was the first to show Adrian Ghenie (Romania), Ciprian Muresan (Romania), Serban Savu (Romania), Simphiwe Ndzube (South Africa), Katherina Olschbaur (Austria), and Moffat Takadiwa (Zimbabwe) in major solo exhibitions stateside, placing their works in important private and public collections, and helping their careers blossom into global prominence. Other notable artists who have shown with Nicodim early in their careers include Isabelle Albuquerque, Michiel Ceulers, Dominique Fung, Devin B. Johnson, Kris Lemsalu, Larry Madrigal, Oscar Murillo, Eddie Peake, Mosie Romney, Max Hooper Schneider, Jorge Peris, Anna Uddenberg, Ambera Wellmann, Hugo Wilson, and Zhou Yilun. The gallery maintains relationships with prominent institutions and has placed works by the gallery’s artists in the collections of Denver Art Museum, the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, Institute of Contemporary Art in Miami, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, the Studio Museum in Harlem, Centre Pompidiou, Rubell Museum, SFMOMA, the Yuz Museum, Pond Society, the Marval Collection, amongst others.

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