|Zim landmarks in art|
|Friday, 17 August 2012 00:00|
The Zimbabwean Eastern Highlands in winter is presented to us in brusque bronze strokes of grass, lazy sun — scorched granite boulders, red and yellow ochre vegetation, glistening purple mountain haze and a cleavage of sky blue mirage mountains in the background.
The hills in the foreground embrace the azure valleys wet with green dew — wet with paint. This is the Zimbabwean landscape replete in its monolithic glory and contrasts of seasons, colour and texture. It is a winter African landscape in Zimbabwe and a tourist’s dream souvenir.
But who better than the photographic eye of Zimbabwean artist Chrispine Mutsadyanga who captures the Textures of Africa — that seduce your visual senses and harkens your heart. The beauty of places that we know, the beauty of memories that we have felt, and the beauty of paint beset in front of our eyes are made tangible by this artist.
It is not the harsh history, geography or environmental science that we read about in scholastic textbooks or newspapers. It is a palatable, beautiful and memorable land that we can almost reach out and touch with our hands, unspoilt by human interference.
The aesthetic allure of our land Zimbabwe is often missed, yet the sensitive eye of this artist captures and records this tactile beauty, and in so doing creates a heritage.
The power of paintings is not so much in its visual appeal, but in what it will say when the tools are down, the artist has passed on and geography like history has weathered on. It is tangible heritage — for us and our heirs. Today people talk about shelf life and best-before dates. True art does not have a best-before shelf life, provided materials last and are maintained — the artist has the capability of producing a second heritage, a memory and an item that you can place in your house or office and in so doing reincarnate the locale for posterity.
Zimbabwe is blessed with a myriad of landmarks, granite effigies, spiritual beacons and water bodies that in themselves create (indelible memories) of surreal and spiritual references to life. More than anything African people have always personified the land. Rock, sand, gravel, grass, mountains and rivers are not perceived as banal metamorphic entities — they are perceived as being a part of us.
We recognise ourselves in the geology and landmarks of the land of our origin. Mutsadyanga brings to life the natural habitat that defines us as Zimbabweans.
The graphic artist, painter, philosopher, inventor and Harare Polytechnic arts and design lecturer, Mutsadyanga is no newcomer to the world of art. Although relatively unknown in the local tabloids, most commercial galleries and local and occidental collectors are familiar with his paintings.
Born in Buhera in 1978, Mutsadyanga was and is a natural talent. As a child he absorbed everything from comic book strips and fashion illustrations to the design and manufacture of these items. His curious and mercurial, inventive mind led him to experiment in many two-dimensional fields until his enrolment at the Harare Polytechnic as a student, where he now lectures in visual arts and graphic design.
Dr Tony Monda holds a PhD in Art Theory and Philosophy and a DBA (Doctorate of Business Administration) in Post-Colonial Heritage Studies. He is a writer, art critic, practising artist and Corporate Image Consultant.