Lizette Chirrime: Metamorphosis, healing and hybridity

by Lena Sulik

Art is restoration: the idea is to repair the damages that are inflicted in life, to make something that is fragmented — which is what fear and anxiety do to a person — into something whole. Louise Bourgeois [1]

A young girl from a land of mermaids faces a wicked stepmother; she undergoes an arduous journey to a distant place to fulfil her destiny; she dreams in signs and portents; she returns home armed with new knowledge, reborn.[2] The work of Mozambican textile artist Lizette Chirrime flows from a pool of myth and a personal history of anguish, weaving together elements of form, texture and colour in compositions that re-imagine the way the artist experiences the world. Creating primarily bold collages of intricately patterned African fabric in which abstracted figures float and dance on bright surfaces, Chirrime makes compelling use of both the material aspects inherent in her medium and its complicated history in order to heal the wounds of her past and tell a new life story. “I refashion my self-image and transcend a painful upbringing that left me shattered and broken,” she explains. “I have literally ‘re-stitched’ myself together.”[3]

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Faith XLVII: Optimism is a strategy for making a better future

by Lena Sulik

“I know the world is bruised and bleeding, and though it is important not to ignore its pain, it is also critical to refuse to succumb to its malevolence. Like failure, chaos contains information that can lead to knowledge — even wisdom. Like art.” — Toni Morrison[1]

“Optimism Is a Strategy for Making a Better Future”. Written in letters a storey high, these words underline The Silent Watcher, an almost 200-square-metre mural painted by Faith XLVII in Philadelphia, 2019.[2] While their selection was inspired by the writings of Noam Chomsky (who was born in the city), the words are not just a convenient quotation.

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