Gerald Tabata

Untitled painting by Gerard Tabata

Gerald Tabata (b.1975) attended the Thupelo International Programme, Cape Town, South Africa in 2005.

Tabata’s history places him firmly within the framework of his artworks speaking to place, time and social politics. Whether waiting for a taxi, walking down the street, or waiting for the world to turn, Tabata captures these moments like a visual story-teller or documenter.

The subjects that people his canvases, although framed by circumstances of poverty, carry on about their business of life; while some of the figures have become reduced to an anonymous symbol, they are not a caricature. The subjects do not engage with the viewer, in many instances the subject has their back turned, or is walking away, out of the picture frame, excluding the viewer from the narrative of their life.  Tabata states, “As  artists  we stand  for  the people, we are  the  voice  of  the  masses, we  cannot  keep  quiet  or  pretend  things  are  ok  whilst  they  are  not. We  should  expose  poverty  and  make  it  our  responsibility  to  let  the  world  know  our  backyard problems.”


Working in a refined, painterly technique with a thoughtful use of colour, Tabata is concerned primarily with evoking the mood and atmosphere of the township scenes synonymous to African culture. Critics have commented that his work has the touch of Rembrandt; with seductive impasto paint he sculpts figures using colour sparingly. Gerald has found himself a studio in Observatory, Cape Town where he lives out his childhood dream of being an artist.

Click here to see more images of his works that are for sale at Artvark Gallery