Inboxed Testimony exhibition at John Muafangejo
Despite the moderate rainfall and puddles in the capital city earlier this week, the John Muafangejo Art Centre (JMAC) opened its doors to its newest artist in residence, Evans Tinashe Mutenga with his solo exhibition, Inboxed Testimony. The artworks are constituted with themes of sexuality, religion and different cultural landscapes and will be on display until 29 November 2016.
Mutenga which hails all the way from Harare, Zimbabwe mostly uses mixed media prints reflecting a distinct balance between technique and social commentary. From his previous exhibitions back home in Zimbabwe, Mutenga has previously demonstrated an eagerness and drive to make work that is context relevant and energetic. This is very visible in this new body of works in which he writes and frames as an Inboxed Testimony.
In an interview with the Economist the young artist explained that his art is a mixture of sketches of different objects and abstract art which he describes as work that is inspired from a spiritual realm to which he refers as imaginary. “Since the days of Adam and Eve, some most imaginary and creative verses have been coined about their virtues and beings, duels and wars have been fought over them, they have been glorified and vilified, yet they remain an enigma, a source” he elaborates.
Mutenga’s art mostly comprises bright colours and stark black, red and white paint which creates a formidable presence, a tour d’force of the underlying idea. In one of his unsettling pieces, Mutenga combines a mixed-media painting of cut-out colours that depict a bathroom with a cut-out of a fetus flushed down the pot. This type of work reflects what he refers to as bad culture and good culture.
The artist explains that he has no formal education, but is rather a natural born artist and has over the years perfected his craft through practice. In one of his rather iconic and controversial works of art, a clay pot that has a set of legs and a woman’s hand, the clay pot is a symbol for a woman because she depicts a vessel or rather a container for human life.
Mutenga’s exhibition not only comprises art works that are filled with lively colours and hidden innuendo’s, they are also thought provoking with diverse views and showcase the cultural vantage point of Zimbabwe.