Johannesburg-based digital artist, intersectional activist and Kemetic yoga teacher Tabita Rezaire is spreading love and inviting healing through her screen-based artistic practice. Having moved to Johannesburg a few years ago from Paris, she has been continuing to work within the Internet’s ecology to confront the legacies of colonialism and address our collective need for healing.
Tabita navigates her personal life and art embracing decoloniality – a theory and practice that involves a de-linking from the West and becoming one’s own centre. She encourages us to unlearn and reboot as she tries to connect with herself, people and life with love and gratitude, and with the intention to heal herself and others around her.
Her work is geared towards a spiritual technology and thinking about how we can become spiritual humans beings again. Through her “digital healing activism” she challenges our cis-het-patriarchal-racist-capitalist system through the use of the screen as her medium. Bringing an awareness to African cosmologies and the sacred power of the womb, she presents a diagnostic of the pain felt by Trans/Queer/Black/Brown/Femme beings and proposes a strategy through decolonial technologies which can allow us to reconnect with ourselves, each other, the earth and our ancestors to bring about holistic healing and an outpouring of love.
Tabita’s work transforms the screen into a gateway, inviting the viewer on a spiritual journey. The screen becomes an interface which allows access to therapeutic vibrations, healing frequencies and tools for working towards “soundness”.
The womb is a prominent symbol in her works. This is a push back against the demonizing, shaming and disposing of women’s bodies and femme energies which has polluted our world through patriarchal structures. Tracing back to times when femme-ness was celebrated, Tabita is invested in restoring our relationship with the womb and reviving an understanding of its sacred, love- and life-giving power. For her, addressing this disconnection from the womb offers a door through which we can learn to love ourselves.
Her first solo exhibition, Exotic Trade, will be taking place at Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg on the 8th of April. As a continuation of her digital decolonizing and connecting to the power that has come before her, this exhibition celebrates alternative ways of sharing and accessing information through what Tabita has called the “cosmos database”. As she has done with previous work, Tabita threads together ecology, digital technology and spiritual communicative practices to address the history and architecture of modern technology. She unearths hidden narratives, as in one of her works which discusses the origin of computing sciences being found in African divination. Her exhibition will also delve into ancestral communicative interfaces: the womb, sound, plants, ancestors and water as databases from which we can download information. She investigates water as a signal carrier from the internet to memories about the traumatic history of colonial routes, the disruption of oceanic ecologies, as well as the healing potential that water offers. The show includes six video arrangements and a series of five prints, a lightbox, and helper metal structures. She will include earthy materials such as copper and bismuth as a symbol of her desire to re-connect and celebrate with the earth.
Analyzing the healing potentiality of sound, Tabita is also working collaboratively with FAKA, Hlasko, and Chi (Robert Machiri) to create a “healing soundscape” for the show. Her exhibition space will be used for a Kemetic yoga class on the 13th of April, followed by a conversation with Milisuthando Bongela from the Mail & Guardian. This transference of the experience from the screen and prints on display to an embodiment through physical movement speaks to Tabita’s emphasis sharing ancient wisdom in all areas of our lives.
Special thanks to the Goodman Gallery, BDSM Dominatrix and Snake Bite Assist for supporting the shoot.
Photography by Paul Shiakallis
Styling by Jamal Nxedlana
Hair & Makeup by Orli Meiri
Bondage accessories by Mistress Kink & Master Grant (BDSM Dominatrix)
Snake handling by Arno Naude (Snake Bite Assist)