The Rhodes School of Art exclusively teaches Fine Art and not commercial art practice. It’s not a problem at all, it just prompted me to ask why that is and there was the subsequent revelation of fine art being regarded as “high art” traditionally and commercial art being reduced down to a skill. There’s an obvious art historical problem that has separated the two and given higher value to one over the other and so I sought to create room for where the two could be made distinct without placing greater value on one.
Author: Barnabas Muvhuti
Black lives have always mattered through colonialism, the Atlantic Slave Trade, the Jim Crow era, apartheid, and currently, with the ongoing abuse of Black bodies by the police. The atrocity committed against People of Color around the world clearly indicates that social engineering against us has birthed all the negative repression.
Barnabas Ticha Muvhuti talks with the Zimbabwe-born Ronald Muchatuta
Installation view, Stellenbosch Triennale, 2020, image courtesy Melrose Gallery
‘From the Vault’ entailed that we had to go into the storage spaces of both Fort Hare and Stellenbosch Universities to unearth these collections which have accumulated so much history as an attempt to bring them into the light. We were not so much interested in the grand narrative nor the well-known artists, but we aimed to reveal histories that have been silenced or hidden by remaining in the vault. We also aimed to identify gaps in these histories. We are also aware that in exposing the silenced, we were silencing others too.
Ticha Muvhuti interviews the curators of From the Vault. part of the Stellenbosch Triennale, South Africa
Sunset Over Camel, Richard Mzamane Mabaso-1950, Fort Hare University Art Collection
In this exhibition, Mapondera, who is known for his paintings on canvas and the trademark installations of tapestries weaved out of cardboard, went beyond his orthodox creative style to work with wood and metal, as well as to incorporate sound. Thus, the work appeals to more senses beyond the visual. This body of three-dimensional works is a narrative of Zimbabweans’ survival strategies or their coping mechanisms in the face of the endless hardships
Barnabas Ticha Muvhuti on recent work of Wallen Mapondera from Zimbabwe
Tuck Shop 4, 2019
Self-fulfilment is the primary reason I do the work. That is why I insert and immerse myself in the work. Even when I am doing painting or textile work, I find a way of portraying self in the work. Raising awareness of issues is the reason I do live art. I like it because the impact is direct and immediate. I almost force my audience to react instantly.