Visual artist depicts Zim crisis in works

Itai Mushekwe



ZIMBABWEAN visual artist, David Chinyama (28) has released a painting depicting the current political and economic meltdown.



>Chinyama said the painting entitled Sunken Ship, is his interpretation of how he sees Zimbabwe’s crisis.


The artist’s painting was among an assortment of works presented last week at the Arts for Hope festival in Harare, which was organised by the American Embassy to benefit the less-privileged by donating 40% of the sale proceeds made during the visual arts showcase.


The artist this week told Independent Xtra that he felt the need to capture the Zimbabwe story in his works because the once prosperous nation has become “a shadow of its past glory”.


“Zimbabwe used to be the envy of many African nations,” said Chinyama.


“Today we are a shadow of ourselves as a result of gross mismanagement by our leaders. Talk of the economy, political situation, education, health and all that you can think of is that it is now just like a sunken ship. We used to take pride in our country and everybody wanted to be associated with us. Today it’s a different story.”


In the non-figurative painting, an unidentified ship is about to touch the seabed after succumbing to a mysterious fault.


Chinyama, who prefers maintaining a low profile, has become the latest visual artist to speak out against Zimbabwe’s meltdown, after students from the Zimbabwe Institute of Visual Arts last year produced damning works criticising government’s ill-conceived Operation Murambatsvina.


The visual artist, whose works are rooted in contemporary commentary, addressing the evils and positives of society, has attended exhibitions in the Netherlands, Germany, South Africa and Kenya.


To date, he has held seven solo exhibitions and is also coordinator of the Arts for Hope festival. In 2004 Chinyama received the National Arts Merit Award for outstanding visual artist.