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Arena for Contemporary African, African-American and Caribbean Art

Author: Barnabas Muvhuti

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Speak, Mnemosyne: a groupshow of young female artists

Tich1Exhibition poster designed Wynona Mutisi, image Nothando Chiwanga

“Speak, Mnemosyne” is the title of an exhibition curated by Lifang Zhang. The show took place within the National Arts Merit Awards (NAMA) event at the Harare International Conference Centre (HICC) in Zimbabwe’s capital city in the final weekend of February.
Writer Barnabas Ticha Muvhuti caught up with the curator of the exhibition to unpack the show, and discuss the ups and downs encountered in the build up to the event and on the day of the show.

Exhibition poster, designed by Wynona Mutisi, image in the poster is work by Nothando Chiwanga

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Aaron Samuel Mulenga and Mapopa Hussein Manda

Breath

In the end I discovered a show making bold social commentary – speaking to the past, the contemporary and the future of Zambia, if not Africa.

Barnabas Ticha Muvhuti on an untitled exhibition with works of Aaron Samuel Mulenga and Mapopa Hussein Manda
Aaron Samuel Mulenga, I can’t breathe, 2021

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Wynona Mutisi: printmaker, graphic designer, illustrator

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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.

Barnabas Ticha Muvhuti in conversation with Wynona Mutisi
“Harare Map”, 2020, Digital Map Illustration, 1550px X 981px.

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Ronald Muchatuta

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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

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From the Vault, part of Stellenbosch Triennale

TichaSunset Over Camel, Richard Mzamane Mabaso (1950 -) Oil on board 56cm x 77cm 1985, Fort Hare University Art Collection

‘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

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