Tawanda Takura (b. 1989), who trained as a shoemaker, takes apart and expertly re-assembles old shoes which carry the traces and biographies of their owners in his sculptural pieces. These new figurations carry the subtle but persistent smell of rubber and leather. Hollow, hybrid, tortured and distorted, sometimes carnivalesque, Takura’s work comments on socio-political injustice, and takes clear aim at the extractive practices of charismatic churches. The artist describes how, “at times, in earlier years, I was considered a madman, going around collecting old shoes...people would see a heap of shoes in my house”. He goes on to describe how his work has opened up conversations and dialogue with neighbours and others in his community: “People really want to say things but they don’t know how to say it. I get to speak through my work and address the things that they are facing and going through [in daily life].” A laughing mermaid-devil with a scaly body of many tongues, a head of molten plastic, high-heels for a horned crown and swimming flipper for her tail. A macabre decapitated spirit-head talks to his body: split football boots trace the firmness of the human spine and back; shoulders rise up from the undersides of well-worn ballet slippers. Mai Mfundisi, the ‘lady pastor’, flourishes under her lurid fascinator, her face adorned with condom packets. A shocking pair of screaming yet mute heads seem to comment on economic desperation and the erosion of basic dignities. Look closely: one of the mouths bears the New Testament’s Book of Timothy, with some of the miniscule verses underlined: “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” The lips of its nearby anguished twin are smeared with the defunct Zimbabwe dollar, millions of them - a reference to 15 years of economic turmoil and increasing deprivation. Elsewhere, no irony is lost with the same dollars being used to line the anus of a feline creature that mutates into an assaulted, cowering human torso, its head mummified with bank notes. Around its neck: the priest’s collar. If Takura’s critique of the abuses of state and church is an expression of suffering and anger, his continuous binding together of materials is also an attempt to stitch back together what is torn asunder. Takura has exhibited at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, several times at the Joburg Art Fair (2015, 2016, 2018) and Cape Town Art Fair (2017, 2018, 2020), and in shows in Mauritius and Hong Kong. In 2019 he completed a residency with the South African Foundation for Contemporary Art and participated in a group show at Guns & Rain.