Women behind the lens: ‘This is how I see Zimbabwe – thriving in the face of challenges’

Women behind the lens: ‘This is how I see Zimbabwe – thriving in the face of challenges’

Photographer Tamary Kudita chose this location for its lotus flowers, which produce beautiful blooms despite difficult living conditions

By The Guardian

I took this image, titled Lotus, of Rosebud Tsikira – a model, award-winning makeup artist and colleague – in a recreational park in Harare, Zimbabwe. I chose the location because the lotus flower emerges here from murky waters and, despite difficult living conditions, produces beautiful blooms.

This is how I view Zimbabwe and our people because we are inherently strong and resourceful. We have a deep well of creativity and perseverance that allows us to thrive even in the face of challenges.

Rosebud’s spirit, like the lotus, reflects resilience and liberation. Her boldness is reflected in the way she commands attention from the camera. She is holding an African staff which is symbolic of authority, dominance and presence.

I created Rosebud’s African-Victorian dress with my designer, blending Victorian style with African wax print. The pattern on the fabric mirrors the shape of the Lotus plants.

I use African prints in every shoot. They show how cultures and communities connect: people share them as gifts, buy them as souvenirs, or wear them while travelling. My photography is about making connections too – between dreams and reality, and between the past, present, and future. Photography’s magic is capturing fleeting moments and making them last for ever.

Lotus is part of a larger project entitled Birds of a Paradise, representing everyday people from contemporary life in Zimbabwe – and new beginnings. This image captures the transformative power of new beginnings – the lotus that started off as a seed and is now in full bloom; the light reflecting on the lotus leaves; Rosebud standing strong – and signifies hope on the horizon for us Zimbabweans.

  • Tamary Kudita is a fine art photographer who has exhibited in Zimbabwe and internationally. Her work explores ideas of race, representation and post-colonial identity. See more of her work on Instagram