Group Exhibition by Lionel Mbayiwa, Taurai Muzambi, Tendai Nhavira
Art Profile by Odd Magazine
The subject of searching in a new country is explored by three Zimbabwean artists in their group exhibition Kutsvaga, at 6 Spin Street Gallery.
First, we have Tendai Nhavira who was born in Harare but now lives in South Africa with his family. Trained in drawing, printmaking, painting, photography, and sculpture, his work can be found in Hout Bay gallery. His first work, however, in the Kutsvaga exhibition follows Abandoned Homestead, a telling evocation of what has been left behind as Zimbabweans are forced to search elsewhere for their livelihoods and survival. Here, out of all his exhibited works, Nhavira has used the most sombre colours in his palette to emphasise the loss of humanity from this dwelling.
Next, we have Lionel Mbayiwa from Mubaira who is currently residing in South Africa. His artistic craft was created under the tutelage of his brother who is also in the art industry. The title of his work in ink, For the Sake of My Children, is a clear indication what the purpose of seeking a better future is about. In Laughing out Loud, Mbayiwa points to the probable causes of the need for ordinary citizens to move away from their country of birth – callous leaders and politicians monstrously laughing, having stolen and profited at the expense of the general populace. Works of portraiture, One Eye Sees, the Other Feels, Lobola and The Politician follow, one by each artist.
Finally, we have Taurai Muzambi who has relocated to South Africa, and cites his mother as his main inspiration, which can be seen in the many pieces based on women. His large work (oil and acrylic on paper) celebrates women, as do all his paintings. Industrious woman stands for all women carrying loads, stoically bearing their responsibilities and burdens. One piece shows this through a woman commandingly striding across the picture plane.
The exhibition’s opening statement is a dominant work by Muzambi which faces you as you enter the gallery. Titled Mwana Sikana, this work shows a girl whose expression is questioning, searching, longing. Also in your field of vision are two works by Mbayiwa; on the left Kuvhunduka Chati Kwatara, that introduces one of his dominant themes of bulls and cattle, equally significant in real terms as well as idiomatically. On the right an imagined landscape, semi-dry pastures, one of the major works of the show.
Arranged almost to create a story within the exhibition’s larger narrative are three works by Nhavira. In The Walkerby an individual man purposefully moves away from the viewer. In Conversation, a meeting between a man and a woman, his journey has been interrupted (or has it achieved its purpose?) while she faces us. Home in Summer presents a homestead set in a welcoming green environment shaded by a majestic tree.
You detour into an intimate gallery of 10 works on paper by Mbayiwa. Among the accomplishments of the exhibition, these smaller works are impressive, with fine drawing in pen and charcoal. In all but three of his works (the exceptions are Wings, Face to Face, and Field of Flowers, all, mixed media on paper), Mbayiwa draws on the iconography of cattle, in prayer, and as symbols of fertility, power and wealth. In Khoi Mood he references the similarities of his background and experience with that of the original Southern African Khoekhoe pastoralists. Alongside this work, Face to Face demonstrates his successful experimentation with different, unusual techniques.
The exhibition concludes with Nhavira’s Dual Conversation. The woman’s and man’s arms reach out, touching the other. May the future that these artists, Zimbabweans, and others are searching, be closer to the vision offered by this image: reaching out, connection, openness, hope.
There are 38 works in the exhibition. Lionel Mbayiwa and Taurai Muzambi, based in Cape Town and Somerset West respectively, are available by appointment. The gallery is open from 10:00 to 16:00, Monday to Friday, and on Saturdays 10:00 to 14:00.
Enquiries: 0827468734. COVID-19 protocols are adhered to, and the gallery is well ventilated and spacious. Private individual time slots for viewing can be arranged.
Facebook: Lionel Mbayiwa