There is something delicate and unsettling about memorializing disasters like cyclones, landslides, hurricanes, etc., particularly when lives are lost. In a recent solo exhibition titled Homage to the Sailor, featured at the Afriart Gallery booth in the gallery HUB section of the 15th edition of FNB Art Joburg, Mozambican artist Nelsa Guambe presented figurative paintings on sails she rescued from the traumascape of Chicuque Village, her home area in the heart of Inhambane, as a way of paying homage to the sailors whose wares were ravaged by Cyclone Dineo.
Author: Barnabas Muvhuti
“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
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
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.
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.