Sometimes the art we love touches us so beautifully that it feels as though it’s almost hugging us.
Farai Engelbrecht’s latest creations (AKA, Samurai-Farai) takes this notion one step further – his art has become thought-bearing hoodies, and the message they ensue is one of protection, understanding, and the warm essence of not being alone. This is of course where the uBuntu inspiration dances in.
In a fine arts collaboration, Mental Health Awareness has a front seat at the table of South African art and fashion. The artist, Samurai-Farai with the help of Reynold Agge from ASA Digital Magazine and local sustainable fashion dons, Loskop, have made something beautiful.
The art hoodies bring more than just a look. They bring a healing. A visual tangibility that says “I understand, because I have seen it too.”
Face your facade
If anything, Samurai-Farai’s work is paradoxical. On the surface, we’re speaking more about mental health than ever before. But glancing deeper, we still hide our truths. There is a societal progression, but a personal mask.
Farai is no stranger to the struggles of dealing with crippling mental health issues and he’s become a true illustration of what anyone can achieve by perseverance, dedication and the pursuit of joy and purpose through art.
His work speaks to the people who mask their struggles, glancing at mental health turbulence from the perspective of “himself, society and the viewer.” It’s psychological portraiture in the medium of fashion.
In a cubist and street art style, Farai’s artwork has the intention of “reflecting the emotional states one being can possess.”
Of the work, Samurai-Farai expresses that:
“In this case, a lot of the characters/people/personalities that I describe are hiding their emotional versions behind facades and masquerades.”
“All of the subliminal or subconscious identities are the ones who are most vulnerable, the most sensitive. They are the ones that have gone through the most pain and the most trauma. I think what my characters are always hiding / or portraying are a similar facade – one that we portray as people. We portray ourselves as ‘put together’ – stable. We make up this front and we create this wall for the world that we want them to perceive. We make up this version of ourselves that we want other people to consume and it makes us feel better about ourselves but it isn’t really us. It’s not even an extension of ourselves. It’s merely a protective layer.”
Farai notes that he hopes to provoke thoughts or imaginations as a sort of library of emotion that can be read and interpreted in endless ways.
Through the collaborative work, the goal is to urge South Africans to share our experiences about our own, as well as our loved ones who struggle with mental health in order to remind the nation that nobody is alone. After all, in our country 1/3 South Africans suffer from mental illness and realistically, 75% won’t receive any kind of therapy or support. This is where we band together.
Proceeds will be donated to SADG (South African Depression and Anxiety Group).