I See You
TAFA + Tomo Mori
I See You, an exhibition of artwork by Ghanaian-native artist TAFA and Japanese-native artist Tomo Mori, will be presented from February 12th through March 8th, 2020, as part of Chashama’s series of exhibitions featuring the work of immigrant artists at 340 E 64th St. in NYC. TAFA and Tomo Mori each make their home in Harlem, known for its vibrant, international, creative community. Their artistic conversation, borne out of a nine-year-friendship, exemplifies the rich exchange of influences and perspectives offered by a diverse immigrant presence in the United States, and in particular, New York City.
Growing up in a culture where sports, music and religion were not only fused but inseparable, TAFA is known for his large scale paintings of sporting events, musical performances and other public gatherings. To him, the arena or stadium is not just a physical location—it is a communal, sacred space, and the games that take place within offer a view into the mysteries of life. His colorful oil and mixed media compositions evoke the energetic mythos of our athlete/heroes, the spectacle of their performance, and their ability to stir us to our highest levels of aspiration.
Tomo’s current work is based on the theme of connection, symbolized by her fiber installations created from handmade ropes she produces from discarded fabrics given to her by family and friends. In addition, she has created an interactive installation that allows visitors of all ages to build their own sculptures by freely arranging fabric covered boxes as blocks. In a nod to the issue of border walls, it raises the question, “What do you build when you are given power?” and offers participants an opportunity to embody a more creative and proactive response.
Their work is in conversation, offering complementary takes on connection with one another and the universal forces that bind us. As first-generation immigrants from two very different countries, their combined perspective is inherently international, opening up a dialog about family, spirit and the larger forces that collectively inspire us to build community with one another.
The exhibition’s opening reception will take place on Wednesday, February 12th from 6:30-8:30pm, with a press preview starting at 5:45pm. An artist talk is scheduled for Tuesday, February 25th, from 6:30-8:30pm. Other scheduled events include painting, fabric collage and rope making workshops as well as a kora and djembe performance. For updates and more details, visit www.tomomoriart.com/i-see-you and www.chashama.org/i-see-you.
TAFA is an artist who describes his practice as meaning to “materialize the transient, the spiritual” within ordinary and commonplace social pursuits, such as organized sports. His paintings have been exhibited in Europe, Japan, Canada, South America, Africa and the US. He has won several awards, and his work has been collected by many public organizations and private collectors including the Superior Court, Washington, D.C; Barclays Bank; Sparrow Hospital, Lansing, Michigan; Shell Co., Ghana’s National Museum; Carver Federal Bank; and notable civic leaders including former President Bill Clinton, and former New York City Mayor, David Dinkins.
About Tomo Mori
Tomo Mori is a mixed media/installation artist who lives and works in New York City. With a clear future vision of herself as a visual artist since childhood, she entered the Tokyo Metropolitan High School for Music and Fine Art at age 15. Later, she pursued contemporary art in America, studying painting and experimental video/digital art at the Atlanta College of Art, graduating with a BFA in 1995. Mori’s work has been exhibited in over 15 US and international cities. In 2014, she was selected as the New York metro area regional finalist for the Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series contest with Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation, and her work was exhibited at SCOPE Miami Beach. In 2016, she was commissioned to paint a mural at Columbia University’s Miller Theatre. She received a permanent public art commission from MTA Art & Design, and the project was installed in 2018. For the 2019 summer season, she exhibited a 360-degree indoor mural on Governors Island.
I See You is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with New York City Council Member Ben Kallos.