Artist Merges Digital Media And African Practices To Help Heal Our Internet-Infested Minds
Johannesburg-based, French digital artist Tabita Rezaire wears many hats. She is an intersectional activist focused on healing and uplifting womyn and femmes, a Kemetic yoga teacher and a healer on a more broad and grander scale.
The emphasis of her art revolves around the practice of decolonization, characterized by a de-linking of Western ideologies in exchange for becoming one's own center and point of reference when looking at morality, ethics and sustainability.
Tabita has become a prominent voice for decolonization within the modern art world, using her knowledge of traditional African practices to address and confront the shadowy legacy of colonialism, capitalism and all the other 'isms' that lead us away from ourselves.With the intention of healing herself and others around her, she has created a vast body of digital art that evokes this message.
Rooted in spirituality, Tabita presents her own brand of healing by framing digital media as a spiritual tool and art as a "healing technology" to combat against the oppressive forces of mass media. She tells Huck:
It’s electronic colonialism. It’s not the liberalizing tool we’ve been sold. Instead, it reproduces oppression and inequality; from racism, misogyny and homophobia to economic and racial exclusion.
We are no longer colonial subjects, but we have become cyber slaves. Even the physical structure of the internet, the undersea fiber optic cables, is laid out onto colonial trade routes. The architecture of the internet is based on pain.”
"My video works became a way to ‘unlearn’: to peel off the layers of this coercive history.”
With her video work, Tabita explores how we can challenge and disrupt homophobic, transphobic, racist, misogynistic, cis-het, patriarchal ideologies in exchange for a landscape that is inclusive instead of faux-woke. Using the very tools she wants to help us walk away from – the internet, computers, technology and digital media – repurposes them and adds the practice of African spirtual traditions to create a foundation for others to reconnect with themselves.
With a spotlight on the contributions of black and brown femmes of the African diaspora– historically raped, abused and disposed of by colonial societies – she zeroes in on the holistic healing energy birthed by these groups, inputting this into her video art through imagery and sound.
Now, instead of a portal for despair, Tabita rebirths our phone and laptop screens into a gateway for knowledge, spirituality, healing and connectedness back to our roots. .
With a conscious decision to step away from romanticising blackness or pre-colonial Africa, Tabita seeks to honor the people and cultures that nurtured such impactful healing practices. “Those contributions have been either erased, vilified or appropriated," she explains, continuing, "my practice is one of healing our historical memory and recovering from manufactured amnesia.”
“It’s a journey of acceptance, of love and compassion for self. How can you be at peace with what and who you are when the world tells you that you are not worthy? It’s a struggle of resilience.
I’m still trying to overcome that inner-voice which sometimes tells me I’m not enough.”
Experience the art of Tabita Rezaire above and below. To see more of her subversive work, head to her site.
By Kimberly B. Johnson, published on 06/02/2018