Keya Tama's Illustrations Explore The Power of Symbolism

November 02, 2017

South African Artist Keya Tama explains that "A lot of what I tried to capture the the intentionaly reductive in shape yet detailed tattoos on many of the characters was a sense of trying to put all of a person and the consciousness of the inscriber into a simplistic symbolic image. The idea of boiling a symbol down to is finest parts has been a great proponent of my work ever since I went to the catacombs and witnessed grave sites in which the families of the deceased appointed one of the family memebers  to inspire a series of symbols onto stone that best captured the nature and feeling of that person. Ever since then I have been fascinated with the rawness and honesty carried in the lines and patterns of ancient and new cultures. The sayings I chose to accompany the symbols I chose from countries I found to have the richest and sharpest beauty to there uses of language. I found only a few phrases that I felt suited the show after looking through thousands. For me the work I want to create is one where nothing is assumed and everything has a new story upon closer inspection."