By Khumbulani Muleya
First Floor Gallery is hosting a two-woman exhibition at their space in Mosi-oa-Tunya (Victoria Falls) that will run for a month. The exhibition features an art installation by Zanele Mutema and a video installation by Miriro Mwandiambira which was accompanied by a performance, the first of its kind in Victoria Falls.
It is the fourth exhibition by the gallery since opening in Victoria Falls in December last year and exhibitions are being well received by the local artist community and art audiences.
Art is a space where the impossible becomes real, where the unnecessary become imperative and where the unimaginable becomes inevitable, through the prizm of the personal vision. Creativity is an energy that is an implicit driver to all things human, but has to manifest itself through things we make.
Before art and creativity becomes possible, there needs to be an absence, a need, a felt vacuum — a vacancy. In this exhibition we want to open our space and make space for the unexpected and even unreasonable but 100% creative, in conversation with works by two artists who excel in developing their unique personal vision and delivering it in striking and thoughtful ways through performance and installation — Miriro Mwandiambira and Zanele Mutema.
In her artist statement, Zanele Mutema says, “There are times when Deconstructed Memories make more sense than whole ones. When Location, Time, Events and The Human Body get mangled up and there is no more telling the difference between the conscious and unconscious, reality and utopia everything becomes disconnected, disjointed and disordered.
“Everything becomes confusing. When one can’t tell if they are in a space or are occupying it, you’re in a continuum where in one of those rare moments you see an opening and you want to escape but won’t. Continual constant conversations with self and once in a while you connect with yourself and these be those priceless moments to be kept and it is those moments I captured.”
Mwandiambira, on the other hand, explains the video installation in the show titled Sugar Embodiment (Lost in Translation) performance Genoa, Italy 2019 as follows: “This performance transposes an experience of downtown Harare. While missing an actual port, Harare downtown is also a space of transit, exchange, congestion and trade.
“In this space of intense consumption and traffic, I situate the woman and the feminine as a participant but also one of the things that is objectified and consumed. A plastic mannequin worked in the performance becomes a symbolic object standing in for both the overwhelming flood of plastic and the humans both responsible for its production and consumption, which dehumanises them and their environment in the process.
“There are no ethics in the Darwinian survival of the fittest environment, where a woman’s default role is one of undefeated resilience in the face of overwhelming inevitabilities. The symbolic object then becomes the subject of the symbolic action of a futile attempt to cleanse it using all the wrong things recalling the myth of Sisyphus performing a task which only appears to have meaning and acquires meaning not through utility but through its endlessness, which is then interpreted as life. The sun starts setting.”
Exhibition runs until November 13.