Thursday, March 4, 2010

Kuru Artist: Thamae Kaashe

Thamae Kaashe is one of the Kuru artists that I find most intriguing. When I saw his painting of wild dogs at the opening of Broken Arrow, I felt a strong sense of recognition – this was an artist in the most fundamental sense of the word; his work has an intensely authentic quality that is only produced by an artist whose work process is so engaging to him as to transport him to another world during its creation. The resulting work then has the power to do the same for the viewer and I strongly feel that this is the case for Kaashe.
[For more pics and some biographical info on Kaashe click on the links below]
He is also a very sophisticated draughtsman as one can see in the lithograph print below, entitled Kudu, Ostrich and Hunting Set. The silhouette of the largest kudu is delicately but confidently drawn, and his use of overlapping forms is unusual in its acknowledgement of three-dimensional space. 
Having seen these two images I eagerly searched around the gallery for more pictures signed ‘T Kaashe’ and had my expectations pleasantly fulfilled when a work that caught my eye bore his signature. This print, a depiction of the traditional Bible story of Noah’s Ark, attracted me with its bold and unusual colour scheme and held my intention with the charming and peculiar detail of the scene. 
The swimming figure, which poetic logic tells me must be Noah, is an extremely unusual and amusing addition to the traditional image. He admits that he enjoys making people laugh with his pictures. "Why should I not make people laugh? Anyhow, I think people love the fun in my art," he says. I am much moved at this sentiment, coming as it does from someone who has no doubt suffered and had the pain of seeing his family and his people suffer greatly throughout his life.
The final image I have to share with you is a delicate and beautifully wrought still life, another lithograph print, entitled Stuff in The Shop. The fantasy of the previous works, which Thamae Kaashe is well known for gives way to a simple, earnest drawing exercise is which his masterful grip of composition is displayed. Desirable objects, a bicycle, clothing and multiple electronic devices, including a television, a cell phone and a radio, are carefully depicted, intertwined and brought together with a coiling rope.
He was born in 1971 on the farm Makriel in the Ghanzi District.  He joined the Kuru Art Project in 1992.  Together with the Kuru art project Thamae's work had been exhibited worldwide and has been reproduced in the Kuru Art Calendar and many other publications.

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