Transformative art with a positive message is at the heart of artist Jabu’s canvases.
The South African-born artist’s bright, bold, electrifying and abstract pieces deal with themes and subject matter “for change and making a difference”. Everything from climate change, food and sustainability, endangered species, and freedom fighter Nelson Mandela are the subjects of Jabu’s work.
Jabu’s painting entitled Global Transformation uses mixed media to create a colourful depiction of the elements which are painted within a ring of symbols. Jabu explains: “When I say ‘Transformation’, I am speaking about conscious change. Changing how we look at the world through art, so we can live a conscientious life.”
Global Transformation is part of the artist’s Global Change series which includes paintings of the elements water and fire, and examines global issues including climate change and the extinction of bees.
Our Planet on Fossil Fuel shows the globe glowing in a deep red in parts and then a black, oil-like substance, created using mixed-media, splattered across various parts of the globe, representing the threat faced by the continued use of fossil fuels in the world. While Save the Bees shines a light on the disappearance of bees.
Describing his art, Jabu says: “I call my work ‘Transformative Art’ because I choose to deal with themes and subject matter for change and making a difference. My abstract work for example is about happiness. I believe that art is an emotional outlet to help heal and or deal with life’s challenges.
“Some of my work has been acquired to hang in children’s hospitals to add color and provide a soothing atmosphere for children while they heal. ‘Wildlife Series’ is about my contribution to saving wildlife, particularly the Wild Mustang in the West.
“My other series is called ‘Transformative Foods’ based on my awareness of the need for sustainability and eating food that’s free of GMOs. I grow and cultivate my food in my back yard then bring the food in the kitchen and prepare it. The dish I create with the different colors of vegetables then inspires a painting. This series allows me to combine two of my passions cooking and painting. My series ‘Nelson Mandela Freedom Series’ is about the preservation of Nelson Mandela’s legacy and the celebration of freedom.”
Jabu’s journey into art was a transformative itself. Jabu grew up in one of the “toughest neighbourhoods on the outskirts of Johannesburg” during the Apartheid era. He states that he was a “political activist for Nelson Mandela” before he ventured into art. Jabu’s first foray into art in fact was creating flyers, posters and T-shirts focused on creating freedom in his country and including the message, “Free Nelson Mandela”.
Jabu recalls: This is when I first discovered my ability to paint. I painted thousands of posters and I screen printed thousands of T-shirts.”
Jabu’s work as a political activist had him labelled as a “terrorist” by South African police, and he spent time in jail, among his fellow freedom fighters, as a teenager.
The South African artist uses his artwork to express his experiences of what can be a hostile world. Now living in the USA, Jabu endeavours to bring a positive element in to his artwork, using rich and vibrant colours inspired by the elements and tapestry from his African heritage.
Images: © Jabu
Rosalind Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She is a writer specialising in sustainable life & style, music, entertainments and wellbeing. Rosalind also works as a spiritual life coach and intuitive advisor helping people to become who they truly are and manifest their heart & soul’s desires into their lives: www.rosalindmedea.com