Keya Tama investigates the culture of the symbolic image

Keya Tama investigates the culture of the symbolic image

Keya Tama is a South African street artist and illustrator. Keya Tama is a 19-year-old South African street artist living in Los Angeles who has been producing murals and participating in exhibitions around the world since the age of thirteen. He is the son of celebrated street artist Faith 47 and influential tattoo artist Tyler B. Murphy. He is a multitalented artist simultaneously producing music, filming, animating, and painting walls.

“A lot of what I tried to capture the the intentionally reductive in shape yet detailed tattoos on many of the characters was a sense of trying to put all of a person and the consciousness of the inscriber into a simplistic symbolic image. The idea of boiling a symbol down to is finest parts has been a great proponent of my work ever since I went to the catacombs and witnessed grave sites in which the families of the deceased appointed one of the family members to inspire a series of symbols onto stone that best captured the nature and feeling of that person. Ever since then I have been fascinated with the rawness and honesty carried in the lines and patterns of ancient and new cultures. The sayings I chose to accompany the symbols I chose from countries I found to have the richest and sharpest beauty to there uses of language. I found only a few phrases that I felt suited the show after looking through thousands. For me the work I want to create is one where nothing is assumed and everything has a new story upon closer inspection.”

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