(Inhambane, Mozambique b. 1973 Maputo, Mozambique)
Textile artist Lizette Chirrime creates intricate fabric collages on canvas that are at once celebratory and soul-stirring, as the artist flirts between figuration and abstraction to develop a unique—and distinctly African—visual language. Stitching together printed fabrics, beads, and other familiar objects in Southern Africa, Chirrime transforms simple materials into autobiographical and narrative tableaux freighted with deeply felt emotion and patterns of meaning. Many of her collages center maternal figures and stories of African motherhood, honoring their millennia-long legacy of strength and grace and positing their representation as a symbolic device.
“These abstract forms evoke the human body and my identity-responsive practice where I refashion my self-image and transcend a painful upbringing that left me shattered and broken. I literally ‘re-stitched’ myself together. These liberated ‘souls’ are depicted ‘dancing’ on the canvas, bringing to mind, well-dressed African women celebrating,” says Chirrime. "My work is guided and influenced by water, the female, and a combination of happiness and sadness."
After receiving a three-month residency at Greatmore Studios in Cape Town in 2005, Chirrime spent the next 16 years of her practice in South Africa. In 2021, she made a return to her home country of Mozambique, where she now lives and continues to create.
Chirrime’s interplay between textiles and abstraction—as well as her palpable use of art as a therapeutic and spiritual tool—brings forth a reconfigured understanding of representation and human nature, using thread after colored thread to inspire hope and healing.