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Cassi Namoda

Maria Returns to Nativity, Tchaubo Land, 2020

oil and acrylic on canvas
121.92 x 167.64cm
About Cassi Namoda
Cassi Namoda works primarily with painting, yet her works on canvas are informed by archival materials, the aesthetics of specific environments and cinematic tropes. All of these sources come into play within her practice, as she tenderly traces experiences of dislocation that Africans living in post-colonial nations experience today. More specifically, Namoda draws on her own childhood in Mozambique and the cultural intricacies and contradictions that arise within this country’s Luso-African heritage. The paintings themselves work through a series of contrasts. The figures are composed in concrete colour, whilst Namoda’s backgrounds occupy a more diluted, abstracted space. Washes of soft lilac and peach gestural marks sit in conversation with these vivid, animated figures, affording the works a magical realist tone. Some of the narratives spun in Namoda’s works are drawn from Swahili folklore, whilst other scenes echo films or personal memories, so this tension between reality and fiction remains muddled. Aesthetically, Namoda cites Leon Golub, Georges Seurat, Henri Matisse and George Grosz as key sources of painterly inspiration. Yet conceptually, her works orbit the critical thinking of practitioners such as James Baldwin, Bob Thompson, Beauford Delaney and Haile Gerima whose oeuvre directly engages with the intimate experiences of Black people.