October 01, 2020 - November 16, 2020
Since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, the whole world was thrust into solitude as lockdowns and extreme social distancing became what was called ‘the new normal’. In that stillness, many things rose to the surface of our societies, including inadequate healthcare systems, authoritarianism, glaring inequality and the illusion of security.
As the country and the world emerge from various stages of lockdown, Gerald Tabata’s paintings are a poetic depiction of the mundane, that may serve to inspire in the viewer a renewed appreciation for freedom of movement, the reigniting of relationships and a tentative return to the daily rhythms of human interaction.
Tabata’s paintings have a documentary feel, becoming an almost photographic record of the comings and goings of his subjects; simultaneously simplifying their physical form and alluding to the absolute fullness of their lives. Tabata’s subjects live, work, play and love in the township. They move from one place to another, often not even acknowledging the viewer – they are wholly engrossed in their activities, their lives completely their own.
The surfaces of many of Tabata’s paintings are sculptural in nature, imbuing them with depth and nuance. His subjects always seem to be in transit, always in a state of movement. If the painting is a document, Tabata becomes a social commentator, using his way of seeing to evoke a deep sense of respect for freedom of movement and an admiration for the mundane.