Always on the lookout for exciting new art, DECO was first in line to see the latest offering at Joburg’s HAZARD Gallery, Harare: an exhibition of bold new work by two young Zimbabwean painters, Wycliffe Mundopa and Gresham Tapiwa Nyaude.
Opening on 13 August and running until 6 September, HAZARD Gallery is hosting a resplendent visual treat in the form of Harare, the latest exhibition from Wycliffe Mundopa and Gresham Tapiwa Nyaude.
We caught up with the team at HAZARD to give us the full story behind these exciting new works, depicting Zimbabwe’s capital city in a riot of colour and creative expression – highly charged with historical significance and modern-day relevance.
Cities are omnivorous behemoths. They feed on and grow from the energy, dreams, hopes and the dramas of the lives of their inhabitants. Over time, they evolve into creatures with unique personalities, which subsume those of their denizens.
‘She lives in Paris’ sounds different to the ‘she who lives in Lagos’, or Johannesburg or New York… And while all citizens shape the image of the city they live in, the mythology a biography of a city is most powerfully established through the symbiosis with the lives of the artists, who live and work there. Few can imagine Paris without paintings the Impressionists and novels of Hemingway, Dumas, Proust, Henry Miller, few can think of Johannesburg without the songs of Miriam Makeba.
Perhaps Harare does not as yet speak with voice audible on a global scale, but the metropolis is the crucible in which the aspirations of today’s Zimbabwean are forged. It is the stage-set for the country’s march through historical drama of independence, which is spelt out in lofty principles but is lived out in extraordinary circumstances of ordinary lives in the city.
It is among these lives that we find Mundopa and Nyaude, two poets for whom Harare is an inevitable and an imperative inspiration. The city they find hard to love and impossible not to.
Mundopa’s Harare is a woman: self-consciously and at the same time effortlessly charming and surprising, a proud custodian of tradition despite every colonial effort to defeat and oppress her and rising up to meet every challenge that daily life presents, failing, compromising but undefeated.
Nyaude’s Harare is a svengali, a shrewd and amusing operator, who captivates, amuses, deceives and spins tales of that, which is not seen despite being seen in broad daylight.
The Harare they show us is a noisy bombardment of bodies, objects, allegorical and figurative, terse and exhilarating, poignant and sardonic, elegant and jarring.
The two artists form a juggernaut partnership attacking their daily realities with humour, wit and painterly wizardry stewed in the sauces of slang, traditional wisdom and love for their hometown. The ying and yang conversation between the two saturates us in the passions of the city and builds an indelible stereoscope of Harare and one which will shape our view of the city forever.
Exhibition copy by Valerie Kabov. Exhibition co-curated by HAZARD, First Floor Gallery Harare and Beathur Mgoza Baker. Images courtesy of HAZARD Gallery.
PLAN YOUR VISIT:
HARARE // MUNDOPA + NYAUDE
13 AUGUST – 6 SEPTEMBER
264 Fox Street, cnr of Main and Berea, Arts on Main, MABONENG PRECINCT, Johannesburg CBD