Apr 28 – May 25, 2021


28 April – 25 May

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Everard Read London presents an exhibition of new paintings by contemporary South African artist Teresa Kutala Firmino.

Born in the town of Pomfret in South Africa, Teresa Kutala Firmino is a multi-disciplinary artist, now based in Johannesburg, working with an array of media including paint, photography, and performance.

Pomfret is an atrophied North West community of former 32 Battalion soldiers and their families, with Angolan heritage, many of whom were settled there after the end of the South African Border War. Drawing on her own stories and experiences of the collective trauma of Pomfret, war, poverty and displacement, the act of making work is cathartic for Kutala Firmino. She believes “we heal by retelling our stories” and undertakes to tell “African narratives from an African perspective, as honestly as possible.”

To narrate and present others’ trauma requires sensitivity and strength - and carries a burden of responsibility. Kutala Firmino reminds us that “the history of the Pomfret population is very recent, so people who were affected are still alive. Some of these stories were hidden for a reason.” Kutala Firmino instead interprets the stories as fairy tales, thereby translating the narratives into something more universal.

The artist’s seemingly playful canvases are rich in symbolism and metaphor and explore the complex issues of history, cultural heritage, identity, and gender.  In her works, Kutala Firmino creates a series of tableaux in which female forms, often with faces resembling African masks, are the protagonists and Kutala Firmino re-enacts their stories, questions the status quo and imagines alternative realities.

This is Kutala Firmino's second solo exhibition with the Everard Read group of galleries.