Flowing and Feeling with Artist Lizette Chirrime
Lizette Chirrime is a Mozambiquan born artist who has made powerful waves on the art scene both in Cape Town and internationally. Her style brings a fresh and inspiring approach to art using African textiles and recycled materials.
Chirrime comes from a background with no formal schooling or training in the field of arts. She began her relationship with art as a young adult using only her instinctual connection to fabrics, canvas and recycled material to create her symbolic abstract pieces. Over the years this has culminated into her developing her signature style of using found objects and textiles to create abstract pieces that reflect her past experiences, dreams and emotions guided by water and the female form.
Q&A With Lizette Chirrime
We chat to Lizette Chirrime about her relationship with art, her inspirations and her achievements.
What was your first exposure to/memory of art and design?
My first exposure to art was through my father. He was an art collector so I grew up surrounded by art, sculptures and a collection of African masks in my home.
Is this what inspired you to become an artist?
No, not really. I don’t think that I ever needed to be inspired.
I believe that I was born an artist, and when the time came for me to explore this innate talent, it just manifested naturally.
Inspiration is very broad and different for every artist; does your inspiration change depending on time and place?
Yes, my inspiration does tend to change depending on time and place, but the core essence of my inspiration always remains the same.
Working with textiles is very tactile versus perhaps painting or drawing; what connects you to this medium?
I like to feel and touch the materials that I’m working with. I also like to recycle. The first fabric I ever used was related to my childhood story.
The inspiration behind each exhibition must be very different but is there a common thread that links you as an artist to each piece and collection?
Yes, it is always different. The common thread is to communicate and inspire others as well as raise awareness for people.
How do you begin creating a new piece of art; is it a purposeful process, i.e. do you sit down with intent and get started immediately or do you wait to feel inspired or connected to something?
Yes, I need to feel inspired and connected. Or, it’s about communication.
Why do you think art is so important in an age where everything is immediate and available at the touch of a button?
In my opinion, I feel that predominantly what is immediate and available is not what makes us happy. Art is incredibly important because it reminds us where we are coming from, what we are doing with ourselves and where we are going.
You recently partnered with Duvel’s Art of Glass project, can you tell us a little bit about this and the piece ‘Madonna’ that is depicted on the glass?
I was very happy to be the first African artist that Duvel collaborated with because it was a bridge for my work to become known internationally. Now many people can have a copy of Madonna in their homes, a piece that I created to represent the spiritual and sexual side of the human.
Art, like many creative fields, can trigger vulnerability; are you ever concerned that people won’t understand what you are putting out there?
No, not really. Art speaks differently to different people, so most of the time people relate to what they see or feel from art.
What do you hope that your art evokes in people?
I want my work to evoke the beautiful side of life and the light side of the dark. I want my work to be an inspiration to embrace your reality and be true to oneself.
What would you tell your 10-year-old self now?
To stay strong. To not be afraid of life or nature. To not believe in what people say about you and who they think you are but to instead follow your instincts and believe in yourself.
Quickfire Questions for Lizette Chirrime
Last book you read? The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Flavour of ice cream that represents your personality? Chocolate
Favourite junk food indulgence? Caribbean Onion and Balsamic floured Lays Chips
3 people you’d like to have lunch with right now (dead or alive): My mother who passed away on May 17 which happened to be on my birthday, Bob Marley and Michael Jackson
Proudest moment in life so far? I’m proud to have found my path and to be walking on it, it gives me lots of joy. It’s one of the best things I have done with my life.
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