Bumhira honoured in threefold exhibition

Samwanda narrated that the background to Bumhira’s inspiration to do creative work was birthed from his upbringing.

RECENTLY the National Gallery of Zimbabwe (NGZ) Harare showcased a threefold exhibition which included a retrospective display of Ndiani Mambo: An Anthony Bumhira Retrospective, A Gathering: Katundu Katurikwa by Tawanda Takura and Love and Other Acts of Will, a collection made from a selection of best artworks by the National Gallery School of Visual Art and design students in Harare.

Arts social media platforms still trend this event which was labelled by many as a night of revelation.

Biggie Samwanda, who provided opening remarks on behalf of the Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture deputy minister Emily Jesaya, hailed the exhibition as a best practice in cultural re-establishment and sending back home lost heritages.

Samwanda gave a synopsis briefing of each one of the three exhibition and concluded that the triad looks into the past through retrospection.

A moment of silence was observed in remembrance and honour of Anthony Bumhira. Bumhira (1985-2020) was born and raised in Chitungwiza and trained at the National Gallery School of Visual Art and design in Harare.

Samwanda narrated that the background to Bumhira’s inspiration to do creative work was birthed from his upbringing.

“He was part of a doily generation — to which an artwork is here present with that title — those who were raised by hard-working mothers whose doily stitches were sold through cross-border trade in order to put food on the table.

“Another common element in Bumhira’s practice is the use of blankets instead of canvas. This material in universally understood as a source of shelter, intimacy and vulnerability. In Zimbabwe, it is also used to protect babies from the elements or to wrap the dead. Thus the use of blankets in Bumhira’s work has profound spiritual implications.

“Here, the intertwined realms of the living and the dead are expressed through a combination of traditional painting styles and the experimental use of materials,” Samwanda explained.

Ndiani Mambo (Who is the King) composed from Acrylic on Canvas, Hurukuro Nemhembero (Conversations and Celebrations); Mupatsu, (Mixed Media); Joe Plumber; Dhoyilisi Generation (Mixed media) and Houses for All (Acrylic on Canvas) were some of the artworks by Bumhira on display that ignited the night.

In her remarks, Raphel Chikukwa, director of National Gallery of Zimbabwe accepted it as of paramount importance to notice perfect custodianship exhibited by the late Bumhira’s widow Belinda Tsuro Bumhira who kept the artworks for a long time and, therefore, making the second retrospective exhibition possible.

Belinda, who was in the company of her two sons, could not hold back her tears as she accepted the honour of having his late husband’s works displayed in a colourful exhibition. She said it was a good reminder of the good past she lived with her husband.

Visual artist and close friend to the family, Clive Mukucha described the late Bumhira as a dedicated and inspirational figure in the arts industry.

A Gathering: Katundu Katurikwa exhibition by Tawanda Takura is centralised on found objects and the biggest installation amongthem was the shoe installation. Takura is of the opinion that old shoes have a deeper meaning as they absorb the previous owner’s soul and energy and have a certain poise of the owner in their structure.

“The best way to understand more about the background and truth about a person is to look at his old shoe. The extent to which the shoe is worn out from its original quality bears a lot of teaching on the social and economic, if not political status of that person.” Takura said.

Part of the third show was Love and Other Acts of Will had several displays which were dominated by videos by Luba Nzadyo (A Mpemba) and Kalunga of Kalunga by Lucia Nhamo; Winds of Change (photography, Kudzai Chikomo; Its a Trap (Video 20), Sekai Machache; The Divine Sky (Video) and an archive of photos by Neville Starling, Gladys Kalichini, Mako Ishikuka, Phila Phalisa, Kudzai Chikomo and Amina Kadous.

Starling’s archive of photos comprises titles, Distant Intimacies and Who Am I Without You.

Renowned poet Albert Nyathi, who was part of the audience admitted that he was enthralled by the level of creativity and recommended that youths should draw some inspiration from the imaginative shown in the three-fold exhibition.

Outgoing Zimbabwe Culture Fund director Farai Mupfunya was also impressed to notice the growth in the creative sector, especially the visual artists.

“Artists should take it to be the highest honour they could have to have their exhibitions displayed in galleries. Curators from abroad always demand recognition of artworks by our own galleries as a benchmark,” Mufunya said.

Chantel Moyo said she was perplexed by Bumhira’s Ndiani Mambo paint drawing and judged it as fit for indoor displays.

The Brazilian Ambassador Vilmar R Coutinho Junior who was amidst the audience said that his embassy takes priority in uplifting of cultural activities. He remarked that he was precisely impressed with all the displays that he saw.


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