CURRENTLY SHOWING: In My Private Moments: Small Galleries on L. Takawira Curated by Mthabisi Phili
A critique by Voti Thebe
A critical look at the In My Private Moments Exhibition by two female artists Fulufhelo Mobadi and Kresiah Mukwazhi now showing at the National Gallery in Bulawayo, running from the 3 to 31 June 2016.
Kresiah grew up in Harare trained in photography at the Market Photo Workshop in Johannesburg. Fulufhelo trained in the same institute as Kresiah and is exhibiting for the first time outside her native country South Africa. Both artists are young, full of zeal and wide expectations, showing vigor to explore this artistic terrain that is starved of female artists.
The use of the camera as tool has crept into the fine arts. Gone are the days when the painter, painstakingly painted a portrait from a live model. It’s now easier to freeze that moment and paint from the photograph. The camera has the same concept as the eye. The eye can not lie even the camera cannot lie, though it lies when manipulated in the studio or under the wrong settings. Whereas the God-given eye does not lie, it tells the truth, only the truth so help us God.
The art works on display explores the anatomy – the human body that has been part of the fire in the visual arts; that fire is redefined by each artist. These young artistic photographers are lighting dark terrain with their cutting edge images that explore the private moments of women in general within our communities. It has a sense of wit ejaculating with probing instinct of the young and fresh with the zeal of exploring new grounds. Most of the images on show are black and white photos – bring that essence of the yester year before colour photography was invented.
The bird’s eye view of the whole exhibition is the sensitive use of the skin and the second skin – apparel. Especially the second skin that touches the body. It questions its authenticity, its sensuality. It explore the essence of who we are before the fall of mankind.
The use of undies as still life for yet another photograph to be taken is remarkable. It captures your attention to detail or have we run out of still life objects or it’s a way of bringing out that femininity that we all long for, that femininity we have embraced from childhood? The innocence of a child when looking at the undies on the washing line, on the dura wall, on top of a shrub or hedge, or laying on the rock. It brings out the unadulterated mind.
Both artists Fulufhelo and Kresiah have used their own bodies as models in some of the images. Whereby sacrificing themselves on the cross of creativity.
The use of the African mask in Fulufhelo’s photos adds spiritual dimension to the show. She takes the mask to another dimension of creativity. The mask on the female body looks absurd to the male chauvinist and yet it is there to make a statement on what man has done to mother earth. On one of the photos titled “Zinhle”, she has used the mask the Tasmanians’ way of Taiwan who wear the mask on the back of their heads so as to distract the tiger from attacking them from behind. Same principle might apply on this image to the rapist that is lacking in the concrete jungles of this world. Within the African tradition context the mask is only worn by male mask dancers. Like all religion, be it Christianity or other is male dominated therefore the mask on her body is a statement.
Voti Thebe Regional Director National Gallery in Bulawayo June 2016
2nd edition: Zimbabwe Independence Annual Exhibition 2016: Memorialisation
Small Galleries on Main
Curated By Cliford Zulu
In celebrating of Zimbabwe’s independence in 2016, the National Gallery in Bulawayo is pleased to present the second Zimbabwe Independence Annual exhibition titled Memorialisation by local Zimbabwean artists, as a way of engaging the participation by artists throughout the country on National Issues. The exhibition also seeks to captivate the nation to revive the spirit of Ubuntu/uhnu that has dwindled over the past 10years by celebrating our cultural diversity and shared history, further enriching the nation’s cultural heritage and tangible visual culture. The exhibition is making statements concerning our social developments, environmental surroundings and cultural inheritance, but above all it asks you the observer” What does memorialisation in the context of Zimbabwe’s independence mean to you”? In this setting the definition of the word Memorialisation, implies a tradition, inheritance, legacy, culture and customs or one’s visual perspective of Zimbabwe’s independence. The exhibition aims to be seen as a contemporary guide for creative memory of our Independence celebrations in April/ May and driving to preserve cultural archives of the country’s inventive activities in the post-independence Zimbabwe, over the passage of time.
The exhibition features the work by Farai Mushandinga, Talent Kapadza, Nompilo Nkomo, Dumisani Ndlovu, Khumbulani Mpofu, Mercy Nhauranwa, Neville Starling, Jeanette Johnson, Joan Rarlow, Proud Moyo, Nkosiyazi Siziba and Lotus Makopa.
Throughout the African continent, workshops are contributing to the generation of contemporary forms of the visual arts.’ This is particularly true in Zimbabwe, where collaborations and workshops continue to provide influential support for many artists. Understanding contemporary art provides an excellent foundation for the introduction of an alternative model: the Pachipamwe International Art Workshop. Pachipamwe (in Shona, “We come together again”) was initiated by artist Pat Pearce after realising the unevenness of art in Zimbabwe after Independence. She worked with the founders of the Triangle International Workshops, Anthony Caro and Robert Loder and collaborated with a committee of Zimbabweans, including writer Diana Mitchell and sculptor Tapfuma Gutsa, to start the project.
The first Pachipamwe workshop was held at Murewa Culture House in 1988. The second Pachipamwe, was held at the historic Cyrene Mission, just outside of Bulawayo, the following year and provided an inspiring setting for the workshop. Cyrene mission is a vanguard of modern art training in Zimbabwe located in the outskirts of Bulawayo in the Matobo District, also the home of the Matopo National Park with massive granite ranges, many with wonderful prehistoric Bushmen paintings. The artistic legacy of Cyrene Secondary School is historically significant. It was here in 1939 that missionary Canon Paterson first introduced formal art education in painting and sculpture (including stone) to young people in the region. His aim was to encourage a local visual interpretation of the Christian narrative.
Contemporary art in this country has come a long way from Rhodesia to Zimbabwe changing with times and space, form and denotation, one thing remains common it is still functional and aesthetically appealing to the people of Zimbabwe and the visitor.
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