Tanatsei Gambura is a new-genres artist and cultural practitioner engaged in translocal research and fieldwork-based activities. She is a longlisted artist for the 2022 Robert Walters Group UK New Artist of the Year Award and was a commissioned resident at Art Walk Porty, Edinburgh's annual seaside festival. In 2019, Tanatsei received the Diana Award for the work, The 25 May Movement (2016-2020), a social practice intervention exploring culture and community as primary arenas for decolonial work. Her work has had an international reach with exhibitions in Berlin, Ghana, Amsterdam, and Los Angeles.
Tanatsei works primarily across installation, moving image, sound, text, and social practice. In the studio, she is intrigued by the collusion between different concepts, materials, and forms. Drawing from lived experience, she contemplates issues of land, place, and contemporary culture. Tanatsei considers the processes of forgetting and remembering as productive spaces in which violence and trauma can be understood. In both artistic and curatorial capacities, her engagements foreground collaboration and exchange.
“For however dutifully we record what we see around us, the common denominator of all we see is always, transparently, shamelessly, the implacable ‘I.’”
Chameleon proposes a multi-channel conceptual moving-image artwork exploring the intersection of photography, performance art, and video art. Challenging the distinction between the viewer and the viewed, five different characters pose for a photograph. Inspired by the work of Samuel Fosso, Sin Wai Kin, and Genevieve Gaignard, Chameleon explores studio portraiture as a performative form that blurs the lines between still and moving imagery.
The work examines the relationship between art, the body, and digital technologies using living portraits while exploring how identities are constructed and communicated in different social, historical, and political contexts. The act of looking entitles the viewer to assert their power over the subject by reducing them to an object of observation. In light of this, Chameleon begs the question, how does the image look back?
Portrait subject: Chia Perpetua