By Iminza Keboge
Published April 25, 2017
An art show outlawed by a Zimbabwean court has gone on a month-long display in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.
The exhibition that is full of socio-political statements and is titled Sibathontisele (‘we drip burning plastic on them’ in isiNdebele), is by an artist called Owen Maseko and revolves around the infamous massacre of people in Matabeleland and the Midlands Gukurahundi where government soldiers killed people (the Ndebele) when the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) government led by Robert Mugabe, a Shona, fell out with Zimbabwe African Peoples Union (ZAPU) party led by Joshua Nkomo, a Ndebele.
Almost 20 years after the guns fell silent, Mugabe’s ruling ZANU-PF party-led government has urged Zimbabweans to ‘move on’ although the majority of those affected still feel that the issue needs to be adequately discussed before it can be consigned to history.
The ‘bloody’ red and black images on display are quite disturbing as they depict the blood shed by black people when a fearful black-led government silenced its own black people with violence.
The exhibition opened at Goethe-Institut in the Central Business District of Nairobi on April 13 and runs through May 5, 2017. It is open between 1:00 PM and 6:00 PM, Monday to Friday and 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM on Saturday.
Sibathontisele is hosted by Goethe-Institut in collaboration with British Institute for Eastern Africa (BIEA).
A stone’s throw away at the National Museums of Kenya-run Nairobi Gallery is another show titled Transitions, a series of exhibitions which is said to be promoting a younger generation of artists.
Boniface Maina, a 1987-born Kenyan artist with a diploma in art and design and who works primarily with acrylics on canvas and inks on paper, is premiering a new series of surrealist work in an exhibition that opened to the general public on April 23 and runs through May 30, 2017.
Maina is said to be inspired by human reactions, personal experiences, dreams and daily encounters which he illustrates through his surrealist scenes and figures. He is described as being part of a “new generation of artists who are finding fame and fortune both at home and abroad through a combination of training, exposure and inner reflection based on their unique perspective in present day Kenya.”
Hope: The Story of Courage and Sacrifice is the title of another art exhibition in another National Museums of Kenya institution, Nairobi National Museum on Museum Hill.
The show, in Creativity Gallery, is open daily from 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM was meant to mark the Christian holiday known as Easter.
Artist Evans Yegon, who studied fine art at Buruburu Institute of Fine Art (BIFA) in Nairobi tells his story through a series of paintings and a collection of objects associated with Easter.
Working in acrylics on canvas, Yegon’s narratives are are described as being ‘enigmatic and intense’ and the contemporary abstract realism he applies as generating a ‘compelling and daring effect’.
“Working his backgrounds in seemingly random strokes,” a NNM publicity statement says,Yegon’s “riotous disorder is a really thrilling way of making a realistic artwork additionally abstract.”