Nakazzi Tafari

Nakazzi Hutchinson aka Nakazzi Tafari is an artist whose roots are entangled in Jamaica and Barbados. She has exhibited her work in several prestigious museums and galleries such as The National Gallery of Jamaica, The National Gallery of the Cayman Islands, and Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Florida. Nakazzi’s distinctive work has also been shown in New York and Berlin. She is the featured artist whose work has been selected for the newly constructed Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston.

While Nakazzi’s art manifests her artistic and cultural heritage, it contains at the same time, universal qualities. In Angels of the Soil, we can enjoy an aesthetic that is simultaneously sensual and ethereal. Nakazzi deploys mixed media techniques to piece together diverse materials such as clay, tree bark, twigs, resin and seeds to create substantial pieces that defy the ephemerality of their elements. Her trademark hand-painted ceramic masks with their indigenous “hair’’ implants of diverse natural materials afford her a certain artistic freedom to play with genre boundaries. As the artist reveals: “This work represents for me a leap forward in the spirit of independence and faith”.

Thematically, these masks veiled in mystery invite us to delve into places of our mind that originate in a reflective, spiritual plane. They invoke ancestral presences and organically connect the mystical and material worlds. Tree roots become dreadlocks reaching upward to the sky and down to earth, evoking the permeability of conventional boundaries that ordinarily divide the imagined and the mundane. These angelic spirits seem suspended between the ethereal and the earth-bound. They appear fragile but also eternal; as light as mist but still bearing the weight of soil, as if suspended in frozen moments of eternity.

Angels of the Soil is a testament to Nakazzi’s fascination with the female form—atrophied and yet all-powerful. It is also an affirmation of her continuous quest for spiritual expression. This body of work has become transcendent, most likely inspired by increasing awareness of life’s transient nature and the metamorphic process of life after life.