Visual artists explore religion

Tawanda Marwizi Arts Correspondent

Visual artists Amanda Badze and Lauren Webber have united for an exhibition at the First Floor Gallery in the capital. Titled “Motherland — Otherland”, the exhibition features exciting works from the two female artists. According to the gallery marketing manager Marcus Gora, Webber an Irish-American, whose path to art comes through photography found a new art home in Zimbabwe last year. Amanda is a Zimbabwean, raised in the US and her art is meant to go beyond boundaries. She returned last year and has been working hard to bring her creativity to the fore.

“The two artists create a complex harmony, speaking powerfully to the struggles of finding your own voice, while building a real relationship with a new home. Badze’s work in the exhibition utilises the medium of vocal production. She adds her voice to her works in a constantly evolving form,” said Gora.

He added that from this foundation, Badze embraces the totality of what musical tradition has to offer, embracing her identity as an African woman in a global community and a spiritual, creative, and connected being. “Her pieces succeed in effortlessly blending operatic vocal compositions in numerous forms and languages, with every day traditional essence of Zimbabwe’s rural areas,” he said.

In Lauren Webber’s works, the impact of religion and Christianity in particular on lives of women has been a passionate concern throughout her life and practice as an artist. “Arriving in Zimbabwe meant Webber had to engage and get to know the traditional practices and the advent of charismatic evangelicals. Zimbabwe literally becomes the fabric informing her work,” said Gora.

Taking the African tradition of adapting African print cloth with religious insignia, she makes that adaptation a point of departure, comparison and reflection on Christianity pandemic march around the world, with its political and social implications, designed to raise questions rather than easy answers.

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