Misheck Masamvu: Hata
From July 20 to August 31, 2019, Goodman Gallery, Cape Town will present Hata, a new series of paintings and drawings by Misheck Masamvu, his third solo exhibition with the gallery.
Taken from Shona, the word Hata commonly refers to a cushion used to soften the load atop one’s head. In a broader sense, Hata stands as a coping mechanism for the burdens we bear, be they literal objects or our thoughts, emotions and ideas.
For this exhibition, Masamvu uses painting as a hata-like device for processing our relationship to history. This position relies on thinking of the history we are burdened with as an opportunity for further education and growth. Drawing on personal tragedies, Masamvu looks at how he overcame these challenges in his life by turning to lessons gained from history.
The exhibition is accompanied by a monograph, also titled Hata, edited by curator Gabi Ngcobo. The publication will be launched alongside a listening session between Ngcobo and Masamvu at 11H30 on the day of the opening.
Misheck Masamvu was born in Penhalonga, Zimbabwe. Having studied at Atelier Delta and Kunste Akademie in Munich, Masamvu initially specialised in the realist style, and later developed a more avant-garde expressionist mode of representation with dramatic and graphic brushstrokes.
His works seek to explore socially-driven and socially-conscious themes, with the intention of using his art to address issues and find possible solutions that will strengthen and voice the African legacy to future generations. His motifs, drawn both from within and from the world he inhabits, take on a life of their own, exposing the psychosocial protagonists of contemporary society through acts of painterly exorcism.
His more recent series seeks to raise questions and ideas around the state of ‘being’ in relation to humanitarian acts, not prescribed by a charter, but rather a pursuit of acts that retain dignity.
Through his expressionist approach to art, Masamvu captures the plight, political turmoil and concerns of his Zimbabwean subjects and their experiences. His works serve as a reminder that the artist is constantly socially-engaged and is tasked with being a voice to give shape and form to a humane sociological topography.
Misheck Masamvu has participated at significant exhibitions and fairs including representing Zimbabwe at the 54th Venice Biennale, the São Tomé Biennale and most recently the 2016 São Paulo Biennale. Solo exhibitions include Still / Still at Goodman Gallery, Cape Town (South Africa: 2016); Epitaph at blank projects, Cape Town (South Africa: 2012); and A Naked Mind I at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe in Bulawayo (Zimbabwe: 2002).
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