Details from Brian Mupoperi's Magumba Growth Point, Maviyane's 8 Revolution, Vincent Jack's Peace Victory and the writer with a visitor to the exhibition. By Brian Chikwava - described as one of the exciting new writers on the African continent, winner of Caine Prize for African Writing for his short story Seventh Street Alchemy; a Charles Pick fellow at the University of East Anglia.
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The Many Rivers Exhibition of Zimbabwean art at the Oval House Theatre Cafe Gallery, London finishes at the weekend. Its well worth the visit .
With works from the likes of Zimbabwean artistic legends-in-our-lifetime, like Chaz Davis-Maviyane, the exhibition also featured younger artist, but all expressing the plight and fighting spirit of Zimbabweans through mostly paintings, with names such Scarred Earth, Under Pressure, Every Death, Peace Victory, Reconstruction etc.
The exhibition was named after Maviyane's piece, Many Rivers To Cross, inspired by the Hurricane Katrina disaster, but invoking Jimmy Cliff 1969 song about perseverance on a lonely journey.
Zimbabwean artists scattered across the globe and producing art were brought together for this unique exhibition that speaks volumes about the journey that Zimbabwean art has travelled, and how much its potential remains to be realised as the nation goes through convulsions.
The Oval House Theatre Cafe Gallery is a small space that cannot accommodate big paintings, so looking at small works when you have been challenged by the big, bold and expansive works of some of these artists in the past has a curious diminishing effect.
It diminishes not only in terms of size but at many levels such as the impact of the work on one and the creative boldness some of these artists are known for, not to mention that sense of an era slowly fading into the pale horizon.
Probably suffering most from being shown in these small sizes are the works of Helen Lieros, Richard Witikani and Richard Jack, known for his great sculpture but here forced to fit his talent into paper of about A3 size - that in itself being an apt metaphor of the potential that Zimbabwe has been shorn of.
It is, at turns, an evocative and heartbreaking exhibition, remarkable in its defiantly survivalist spirit while quietly hinting at some of the names that may become of note in the future. These include the young artists Misheck Masamvu, Vincent Jack and Victor Mavedzenge.
Chaz Davis-Maviyane’s succinct touch naturally remains as relevant as ever in Zimbabwe and beyond.
Details from Brian Mupoperi's Magumba Growth Point, Maviyane's 8 Revolution, Vincent Jack's Peace Victory and the writer with a visitor to the exhibition.