Prolific digital art activist Tabitha Rezaire uses kaleidoscopic new media documentaries to reclaim the narratives of obliterated ancient African civilisations and share her perspective on the themes she campaigns for.
Francesca Miller | Ed Peter Traynor | 2 July 2021
Cayenne-based French-Danish digital artist Tabitha Rezaire (born 1989, France) studied in Paris and London and also lived in South Africa. Her main media is digital videos that feature herself, her own material, screenshots from websites and YouTube. The videos are available in the digital space as well as offline exhibitions, galleries and installations.
Often likened to Afrofuturist artists such as Ytasha Womack, each of her digital art works is a multilayered deconstruction and exploration of themes she invites the viewer to reflect on, including gender, race, decolonisation, global digital inclusion, sexuality and astronomy, as well as humans’ impact on the environment.
5 June – 15 August 2021: Centraal Museum
Tabita Rezaire, Orbit (2021) a two-channel video installation in a wooden dome © Courtesy of the artist.
Tabitha Rezaire, work in progress ORBIT DIAPASON (2021) video © Courtesy of the artist.
We are looking forward to this upcoming work by Rezaire, which will premiere at the Centraal Museum Utrecht and Impakt in the Netherlands.
This digital artwork will be incorporated in an installation presented as a two-channel video installation in a wooden dome.
As well as navigating the ocean as a “graveyard for Black knowledge and technologies” (see the video), Deep Down Tidal also denounces the polluting impact on human minds through addiction to social media and digitally exclusive it is to the southern and eastern parts of the world. When it comes to the transmission of knowledge, narratives online and look and feel, they are still mainly catered to audiences from richer, north and west Atlantic countries in world.
Did you know?
Alongside her prolific work as a new media artist and activist, Rezaire is also a healer and a teacher for Kemetic and Kundalini yoga. She is currently bringing the Amakaba project to life.
The teachings and messages she’s absorbed have increasingly seeped into the videos and the different digital artworks she creates. There has been a shift in her outlook, feel, tone and how she addresses her messages on feminism, environment, decolonisation and sexuality. Over the years, her approach has become more detached, almost light sometimes with psychedelic imagery, but essentially stripped from her original pent up anger.
As the artist said: “At the beginning of my art practice, I existed in a state of consciousness, raging at the world. […] I was angry, and that anger reflected in my work. Now I know there is a way out, or I should say a way inside.”
Ultra Wet is inspired by the village of Credo Mutwa (a South African traditional healer) as well as the sandy landscapes of Egypt. It was initially a digital artwork solely focused on womxnhood, feminine energy and its complexities, pre-colonial understandings of gender and sexuality as well as the technologies of the sacred feminine.
However, as Rezaire’s Kemetic and Kundalini journey took a deeper turn, so did her outlook on the world. She, therefore, renamed the work: Ultra Wet – Recapitulation. This reflected a change in the artwork’s focus and as it turned to look at both feminine and masculine concepts and applying the exercise further afield by exploring the dualities of mxnhood-womxnhood, good-bad, right-wrong, light-dark, strong-weak, life-death etc.
Tabita Rezaire, Deep Down Tidal (2017) video 18 min. © Courtesy of the artist.
Deep Down Tidal (2017)
This work was also exhibited at Citizen X – Human, Nature & Robots for Oregaard Museum in Denmark. The video explores themes of decolonisation, slavery and environmental pollution that it interlinks by juxtaposing water pollution and the cable network for data and communication networks on the sea beds that also mirror the routes that were used for slavery, colonisation and invasion by former colonial powers.
As well as navigating the ocean as a “graveyard for Black knowledge and technologies” (see the video), Deep Down Tidal also denounces the polluting impact of the internet and Western social media which often fails to engage and resonate with audiences from the southern and eastern parts of the world. For Rezaire, when it comes to the transmission of knowledge, online narratives and the look and feel of them are still mainly catered to audiences from richer, north and west Atlantic countries in the world.
Tabita Rezaire, Premium Connect (2017) video 13 min. © Courtesy of the artist.
Premium Connect (2017)
Premium Connect explores African divination systems and ancestors’ communication to offer viewers a different perspective on quantum physics to (re)think our information conduits.
Afrofeminist in tone the video features voiceovers by African women who punctuate messages and statements from existing dominant Western males, on technology and science, using a large gong to then debunk their words by reclaiming the narrative and bringing it back to women.
Rezaire has a BA in Economics from France, and a Master of Research degree in Art: Moving Image from Central Saint Martins in the UK.
She is represented by Goodman Gallery in South Africa and has taken part in countless solo and group exhibitions in addition to projects with artistic groups. She is a founding member of artist groups NTU and half of the duo Malaxa.
2019 | Sorry for Real at OzAsia Festival, Adelaide, Australia
2019 | Vortex of infinity,Unseen, Amsterdam, Netherlands
2019 | Premium Connect, Hiroshima Museum of art, Hiroshima, Japan
2018 | Riding Infinity, PSM Gallery, Berlin, Germany
2018 | Deep Down Tidal, Interstitial Gallery, Seattle, USA
Group shows and Festivals
2019 | Cosmopolis #2 : Rethinking the Human, Pompidou Centre, Paris, France
2019 | Crystal Chain, Kartel, Slovakia
2019 |32nd Edition of International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, Netherlands
2019 |Guangzhou Triennial, China
2019 |Athens Biennale, Greece