Aubrey Chali - Ancestor and Spirit Dancers

Aubrey Chali (locally known as Chali) is a well-known artist on the Zambian art circuit. He has exhibited in many international scenes including South Africa, Europe and Asia. Chali’s uses a semi-abstraction to look at multiple layers of cultural identity within Zambia and throughout Africa. Chali uses the Chitenge fabric with paint to create interesting and unique artistic creations to explore cultural rituals and traditional spiritualism. Aubrey believes his art is a spiritual extension of himself. In order to advance his knowledge, he delves into his imagination, searches his memories and conducts research in order to make connections with others through the use of lines, dots, shapes, designs and tones. Chali considers himself a historian who uses signs and linguistic symbols to trace and document cultures. He often focuses on objects through the use of symmetrical patterns that investigate the past, present and future. Chali strongly believes in a shared universal cultural and spiritual connectedness and thus, aspires to move beyond his local environment discover how this universal kinship is expressed in cultures different from his.

First Thursday – 04/01/2018

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Available work:

Aubrey Chali - Ancestor and Spirit Dancers

Ancestor Figure and Spirit Dancers
2017
Mixed media on canvas
110.5 x 72.7 cm

‘Ancestor Figure and Spirit Dancers represents the unification of tradition and modernity. The mask represents an ancestral figure and three spirit dancers, who perform the Great Dance, a traditional spiritual practice of the Chewa people of Malawi. It is usually performed by the Nyau, a semi-secret association of men. The Great Dance signifies significant life events such as funerals, chieftain initiations, fertility rituals, and rites and initiations into adulthood. The Chewa people, today, have adapted the Great Dance and continue to practice it to retain ties to their traditional past.’

Aubrey Chali - Life of a Woman

Life of a Woman
2017
Acrylic on canvas
110.5 x 72.7 cm

‘Life of a woman is a tribute to the daily trials of women from ancient, tribal times to the present. Women are providers, mothers, and care-givers. They face many hardships, they are hardworking, loving and caring. Women carry a face of tolerance, smiles and compassion. Life of a woman reflects representations of fertility, submissiveness and birth. Through the transference of knowledge, love and skills to her children, the essential qualities of a woman’s core is preserved.’

Aubrey Chalie - Inseparable

Inseparable
2017
Mixed media on canvas
123 x 72.7 cm

‘Inseparable celebrates the perennial love affair between men and women. Key to this union is love, faith, and the life of lovers and their family representing a symbol of healthy relations in society. This piece relies of the uses of figure-like forms and masks rather than pictorial images due to the taboo of pictorial representation in some cultures. The mask-like figure evokes fertility, submissiveness, love, and birth.’

Aubrey Chali - The Custodian

The Custodian
2017
Acrylic on canvas
110.5 x 72.7 cm

‘The custodian is inspired by the oral tradition and practices of traditional African people. The belief in a supreme creator, spirits, use of magic and traditional medicine is a dominant aspect of African culture. The figure depicted is a traditional religious custodian, known as divinities, who function as mediators between ancestors and the living. The belief in ancestral spirits within traditional African religion always resurfaces in one way or another and thus reflects a prominent feature.’

Aubrey Chali - Abandoned Elder

Abandoned Elder
2017
Mixed media on canvas
123 x 72.7 cm

‘Abandoned Elder represents the way in which tribal elders are disregarded in society. It represents the dichotomy between progress and tradition. The central figure depicted is a man that is forever forever cut off from society and in the lives of the new generation. Elders are sometimes regarded as witchcraft due to their age and beliefs. Abandoned Elder depicts the rejection, sadness and disregard in ways elders have faced a decline in respect by youths in African society. This is associated with the lost of morals and leadership within the new generation.’

Aubrey Chali - The Dama Ceremony

The Dama Ceremony
2017
Mixed media on canvas
123 x 72.7 cm

‘The Dama Ceremony is inspired by the Dogon people of Mali. The figures symbolizes a mask and two human figures. The mask is known as the Kananga, the primordial energy of the universe and the human figures represent the first Dogon peoples. The mask is worn during the Dama Dance, which opens the bridge to the spiritual world, allowing the dead to cross over into the realm of the ancestors.’

Aubrey Chali - My Best Friend

My Best Friend
2017
Mixed media on canvas
123 x 72.7 cm

‘My Best Friend represents the humanity within societies. It shows the transformation of the symmetrical figure, reflecting the spirit of man shaping society and the lives of his trusted loved ones. It also reflects the people he has met from other spheres of the universe. His deeds are not confined to ethnic boundaries and he uses a language of love, trust and oneness that is universal. His rich traditional past becomes present and his dreams and perception of one global togetherness make people live in harmony. My Best Friend represents trust and love that is globally accepted. The choice is ours to embrace global openness or not…’

Aubrey Chali - Tribal Usher

Tribal Usher
2017
Mixed media on canvas
110.5 x 72.7 cm

‘Tribal Usher depicts an important, perennial coming of age ceremony of boys within traditional African society. It represents a duty bestowed from the spiritual world and ancestors to humanity in the physical world. Tribal Usher marks a key stage in the ritual where boys are secluded after their circumcision and later reintroduced into the world. The seclusion and reentry marks the transition from boyhood into manhood. This right of passage is instrumental among Luvale, Chokwe, and Mbunda tribes. Traditionally, graduates leave the Mukanda and thus become equipped with the right morals and skills to take up their responsibilities society.’

Aubrey Chali - Unity

Unity
2017
Mixed media on canvas
123 x 72.7 cm

‘Unity is a tribute and celebration of the creative process. Unity reflects the individual artist and their interactions with interpretations of others. Unity is a piece that draws heavily from Chali’s cultural background.’

Aubrey Chali - A Walk into the Past

A Walk into the Past
2017
Acrylic on canvas
67 x 81.5 cm

‘A Walk into the Past represents traditions and progress. Changes to traditions are often an inevitability with progress. Chali says, “traditions are like the roots of a giant tree, with great space, red and black enriching the soil; wild places and rocks stamped by age.” In Africa, nature is supreme, and is the last remnant of our primordial world. A Walk into the Past shows the changing of world as tried and tested by nature; past and present are always merging and there is more of the past than there is of momentary present. The past and present both need each other to grow.’

2018-01-05T13:03:12+00:00