African Art Presents a World Heritage We Need to Preserve

The Art, owned by the Mosi-oa-Tunya charitable foundation, showcases various significant time periods of contemporary art in Zimbabwe, Zambia and South Africa. The artist biographies follow:

TACKSON MUVEZWA

b. 1965

A self-taught artist born in Zimbabwe. As member of the gallery staff at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, he had access to materials and workspace. During his breaks and “off” days, Muvezwa would produce stone sculptures. Muvezwa paints with oil on canvas or board and sculpts with wood, metal (using found objects), and stone using springstone, verdite, and serpentine. He participated in Zimbabwe Heritage Annual Exhibition of Contemporary Visual Arts in 1990, 1991, 1992 (Highly Commended Certificate), 1993 (Award of Merit and Highly Commended certificate for sculpture), 1994 (Award of Distinction for Painting), and 1995 (Award of Merit for Painting). He has held group exhibitions in Zimbabwe and Holland and has works in permanent collection of National Gallery of Zimbabwe and many private collections in Zimbabwe and abroad.

GOSHTA BARANKINYA

1935 - 1998

Born in Mozambique. Both a carver and a painter, his style was influenced by traditional Chewa masks. He was a member of Tengenenge Sculptor’s Community. Barankinya exhibited widely in Zimbabwe, including at the Zimbabwe Heritage Annual Exhibition of Contemporary Visual Arts in 1988 (Certificate of Excellence) and 1989. His exhibitions abroad include the Museum of Modern Art in Paris as well as exhibitions in Holland, South Africa, and Copenhagen.

FASONI SIBANDA

1971-1998

Born in Zimbabwe, Fasoni's subject matter draws from everyday life of busy environments including of Zengeza and Seke. His subjects, often women, can be said to depict loneliness, appearing either alone or in twos or threes rather than crowds. Sibanda studied at the BAT Workshop Studios (National Gallery of Zimbabwe) from 1990-1992. He participated in Zimbabwe Heritage Annual Exhibition of Contemporary Visual Arts in 1992, 1994 and 1995, obtaining the Mobil Overall Award of Distinction for Paining in 1994 for Best Painter of the Year. In 1997, he was left weak after struggling with malaria and lost the use of both of his legs. He passed away in 1998.

THOMAS MUKAROBWA

1924 - 1999

An internationally acclaimed artist, Thomas Mukarobwa, also known as Thomas Mu. Born in Nyanga, Zimbabwe. He was a painter, sculptor, musician, narrator of oral history, and cultural ambassador. Mukarobgwa's art was inspired by his native landscape and the legends and culture of the Shona people. Never formally trained in painting, he believed that this freed his mind to fearlessly use colour and to paint exactly what he wanted, confidentially unrolling his vision onto the canvas. In the 1950s, he led the now famous Shona School of Zimbabwe with the support of its Director, Frank McEwen. In 1957, he joined the National Gallery in Zimbabwe. By 1962, his paintings were collected by the MOMA and Roland Penrose, founder of the ICA in London. After Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980s, Mukarobwa remained in service to the National Gallery of Zimbabwe. During this time he focused on sculpture, but later on in life he returned to painting. He guided and encouraged many young artists. His works were part of all annual exhibitions at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe (where he received numerous awards including in 1982, 1983, 1984, 1989, and 1990 and was an invited artist in 1986) and he has exhibited in Britain, France, USA, Australia, Europe, South Africa, Mozambique, and other countries in Africa.

LUIS MEQUE

1966 – 1998

Born in Mozambique, Luis Meque had a strong influence on art in Zimbabwe. He moved to Harare in the late 1980s where he lived and worked until his death in 1998. Meque’s subject matter of people in daily and nightly life are coloured by his childhood in war-torn Mozambique, with faceless figures representing humans caught in a motionless state. Meque attended the BAT Workshop Studios from 1988-1989. He went on to participate in the Zimbabwe Heritage Annual Exhibition of Contemporary Visual Arts in 1988, 1989, 1992, 1993, 1994, and 1995. He obtained Highly Commended certificate in 1989, Prize for Weld Art in 1992, the Mobil Overall Award of Distinction for Painting in 1993 for Best Painter of the Year, and Award of Merit for his painting in 1994. He was also part of international exhibitions in Norway, Germany, and the USA. In 1994, he was honoured with a solo exhibition at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, where he is now part of the permanent collection.

MISCHEK GUDO

b. 1969

Born in Nyanga in the Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe. As a boy Gudo liked to draw and carve toys out of local wood and upon leaving school, he studied wood-carving with a local carver. His carvings caught the eye of Gill Atherstone of Dendera Gallery. She encouraged him to paint as she noticed his lively use of lines and original ideas. Drawing on his delightfully observant eye for recording the activities of people and places and his experiences of listening to folk-tale, his subjects vary from rural mythology/ folk-lore to observations of life around him. In 1996, he received the Award of Distinction (Young Artist of Promise) and a Highly Commended certificate at the Zimbabwe Heritage Exhibition. In addition, he held a solo exhibition in 1996 at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe. Gudo has works in private collections in France, United Kingdom, USA, Canada, Holland, Germany, and Zimbabwe. He participated in the Mobil Zimbabwe Heritage Biennale in 2000.

ISHMAEL WILFRED

1969-1999

Born in Zimbabwe, he was diagnosed with cancer and had part of his jaw removed. Attempting to find the reason for his illness, he expressed the spirit world in his works. He died of cancer in 1999 and is remembered as a significant contributor to the advancement of contemporary art in Zimbabwe. Studied at the BAT Workshop Studios from 1989-1991. He participated in Zimbabwe Heritage Annual Exhibition of Contemporary Visual Arts in 1991 (Highly Commended certificate), 1992, 1994, 1995, and 1996. In 1996, he obtained the Mobil Overall Award of Distinction for painting. In 1997, he was honoured by a solo exhibition in the National Gallery of Zimbabwe. He has work in the permanent collection of the National Gallery of Zimbabwe and private collections in Australia, Austria, Germany, United Kingdom, United States, and Zimbabwe. His work continued to be part of group exhibitions at Gallery Delta after his death and in 2011, his work was part of a group exhibition Colour Africa in Germany.

NEVER KAYOWA

b. 1958

Born in Zimbabwe and trained at the BAT Workshop Studios. Kayowa participated in Zimbabwe Heritage Annual Exhibition of Contemporary Visual Arts including in 1986 (Award of Merit), 1987, 1989 (Award of Merit and a Highly Commended Certificate), 1990 (Awards of Merit for Painting, Award of Merit for Young Artist of Promise, and a Highly Commended Certificate), 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, and 1996. Kayowa has also exhibited abroad including in the UK as part of the BAT Group Exhibition in 1986 and in Auckland, New Zealand in 1990 during the Commonwealth Games. He has works in Zimbabwe’s National Gallery Permanent Collection and many private collections.