Virginia Chihota’s paintings occupy a space between reality and dream where she is able to work through responses to personal relationships. Her starting point, a blank sheet of paper, becomes the boundless world at the start of a new relationship, whether romantic, religious or professional, and she uses paint and ink to impose the limitations onto it that are always encountered as a relationship progresses. Working with screen-printing and paint on paper, these works from her series ’A Thorn in my Flesh (munzwa munyama yangu)’, explore the dichotomies of strength and weakness, the thorn being representational of turmoil in life. Positive and negative are two sides of the same coin and neither can exist without the other, an understanding of which can help us to use the negative to nurture the positive.
Having moved to Tripoli, Libya in 2012, the Zimbabwean native is inspired by her personal relationships and the reoccurring themes of isolation and cultural dislocation, which fuel her highly introspective works. Most recently, the artist’s experiences of relocation, marriage and motherhood have influenced how she moves through the world and interacts with the people in it. The body is the point of departure for these transient experiences, and she uses it with expressive force; colours are strong, white, black and red, and shapes are at once fluid and concrete.