top of page

kEda gomes



July 7th, 2023

Arch Enemy Arts presents YESTERDAY, WHEN I WAS YOUNG, a feature of five new paintings by South African artist kEda Gomes. We’ve paired this series with seven additional pieces from the artist’s collection to highlight the cohesive visual language that flows through kEda and her work. Taken together, the show presents a collective coming-of-age narrative about navigating the muddy waters of history, isolation, identity, and belonging. 


kEda creates expressive adolescent subjects that appear nostalgic, playful and curious, romantically styled, yet alone. Blinded by their swimmer’s caps and bandaged eyes, the children are either isolated or dehumanized, unaware, and totally surrounded by symbols of the history that entangles the artist’s homeland (a feeling that we, located in the “Birthplace of America,” know all too well). 


We asked kEda about her experience growing up in South Africa during the immediate aftermath of Apartheid, and she told us, “As children, we were largely shielded from the hardships that people were facing and from the atrocities of their fight for freedom. It was only somewhat later in life that I learned of some of the details that were taking place right under my nose. This idea of being blissfully, (un)intentionally (and shamefully) ignorant is one that reoccurs in my work.” 


Despite their specific symbolism, the emotional ebb and flow of these paintings feels wildly universal. As we navigate these challenging waters, as we try to paddle our way forward–to learn and grow and heal–we are simultaneously and forever anchored to the past. We are held back by ourselves, by our circumstances, and at times, by our own willful blindness. Thus, kEda’s work offers a symbolic nostalgia for a childhood that never really was and for one that still, continuously, is.

- Candice Musher


YESTERDAY, WHEN I WAS YOUNG will be on view from July 7th - 30th, 2023.
Sold works will begin to ship the
week of August 6th, unless other arrangements have been made.

Items marked with a red dot have already been sold.


click on any of the images below to inspect closer

bottom of page