Things to Do in Miami: Malaika Temba at the Mindy Solomon Gallery – Miami, Florida


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Malaika Tenba’s work is on display at Miami Art Week, 2019 Met Gala, and New York Fashion Week.

Photo courtesy of Malaika Temba

With a global marketplace where every sign promises “quick action” and “results in minutes,” textile artist Malaika Temba is obsessed with the time-consuming type of work. The process itself.

“Sugar cane is the sweetest in joints” is about 10 of Tenba’s works exploring the labor of both physical and emotional diversity and the effects left by those who make up the majority of the labor of those around them. It is a collection. The exhibition will be held from June 26th to July 31st at the Mindy Solomon Gallery in Arapata.

“The sugar cane joint is the hardest part to reach. The title is a saying that the effort pays off,” explains Temba. “These works talk about labor, such as physical, emotional, and their intersections, and how these types of labor are feminized and neglected because they are feminized. The sweetness comes out. The works of this show honor the recently deceased grandmother. These works are how well they were grounded and practical, and how much effort they put into it for their families. The show pays homage to labor, especially the work of traditional women. ”

A nomadic youth with roots in both Washington, DC and Kisimundu, Tanzania, and living in different countries, Tenba is important for observing global human-level issues such as racism and sexism. I got a lens. She calls her work both a story of congratulations and attention to the viewer. Don’t be complacent.

“By being in different places, I learned a lot of lessons, such as how to be treated as a black woman depending on where I am,” says Harlem-based Tenba. “When I was a kid, I lived in South Africa and learned about apartheid. At that time, I knew nothing about the legacy of slavery in the United States. Later, when I moved to the United States, I was still at school about it. I didn’t learn. It was so impressive that I clarified what was missing. Such a global experience needs to say a lot about what would be better for us. I felt that there was something more important to criticize. ”

In the sugar cane work, Tenba applies its critical lens to labor, making the automated manufacturing process preferred in the United States much more human and physically burdensome by workers around the world. Contrast with this kind of labor. one piece, Elezyia MshimbikaIs named after Chaga, the language spoken by the people of northern Tanzania, and is translated “for ancestors.” Tenba considers this 12-foot-wide knitwork to be a tribute to women in the family who have made physical efforts to provide their relatives with a nutritious diet for the rest of their lives.

Click to enlarge Ntozake's Lady in Yellow, 2020-PHOTOBYALEX NUÑEZ

Yellow Ntozake woman, 2020

Photo by Alex Nunez

“This represents a pile of burlap bags of green and yellow bananas, like what you see behind trucks carrying produce across the country. Many farms are done by women and family cooking. And much of the food is done by women, “she explains. “In this artwork, this huge pile of daily necessities is bigger than the real thing. There were so many processes involved in making this part of the work, they are almost imposing. The people of Chaga Has a place in their garden where they pour essentially one for their ancestors. This piece is my version of a tribute to my grandmother. ”

Temba received the Jorge M. Pérez Award from the National Young Arts Foundation this year. This is an unlimited $ 25,000 gift given to emerging and mid-sized artists who previously won the Young Arts Award from Temba in 2014. A 2018 graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), Tenba was initially attracted to textile art by observing mothers who knit textiles from countries and cultures around the world. At RISD, Temba learned the power of storytelling contained in textile media.

For Temba, layering or stitching patterned or single images, text, and fabrics mimics the gray areas that exist within what is known as truth. These gray areas are in the form of bold, bright colors and patterns, and large pieces that require attention.

“Often the work begins for me as a writing of stream of consciousness. Then I start working with the words that are there. Sometimes I print and cut out all the words and throw them together. Sometimes I hide things, “she says. “There are a lot of process-based operations on the text to understand that these ideas are in the gray area. The rest of the work still says” pay attention to this. ” Fragmentation complicates these ideas and there is no answer that does not include multiple perspectives. ”

Textile works such as “sugar cane” serve as a platform for Tenba’s unique perspectives and experiences to shine in ways that cannot be achieved by other means of communication.

“When I write to myself, an idea comes to my mind easily. When I try to share it with others, I can’t. I’m nervous about organizing my thoughts.” She admits. “When I make a piece, I feel like I’m communicating most clearly. I also spend a lot of time thinking — too much — and I’m very emotional as a person. I don’t want to think that is a negative thing. It’s not a rewarding trait to be thoughtful these days, but it should be. ”

Tenba says he wants visitors to “sugar cane to be the sweetest jointly” to take a thoughtful approach to seeing the work, recognizing the value of labor. The importance of considering history, multiculturalism and diversity in shaping ideas. And most importantly, the potential of each of us to tackle the labyrinth-like problems facing humanity as a whole.

“I want you to move forward passionately with complex things that are difficult to understand,” she says. “I want people to be bold and thoughtful about them.”

“Malaika Temba: Sugar cane is the sweetest in the joints.” From Saturday, June 26th to Saturday, July 31st, at the Mindy Solomon Gallery 848 NW 22nd St., Miami; 786-953-6917; Admission is free.

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