Nancy Mteki: Artist Talk

Friday 28 August 2015, 2.30 – 3.30pm

A press release from Njelele Art Station – you can find them at: 131 Kaguvi Street, Harare.

Please join us for an artist talk by Nancy Mteki on Friday 28 August 2015 from 2.30 to 3.30pm at Njelele Art Station, as she speaks about her practice, central interests and insight into her work currently on show in ‘Honai’.

Nancy Mteki (1989) is a Zimbabwean artist whose work draws on women and their daily experiences in society. Introduced to photography in 2008 at South African workshop Iliso Labantu (The Eye of the People) founded by Alistair Berg and Sue Johnson, her work has been exhibited widely in Harare, Bulawayo, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town, London and France. In 2014, Mteki’s first solo exhibition ‘Mbereko’ took place at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe.

Mteki has won awards at Dak’Art 2012, National Archives Of Zimbabwe 2010 and Gwanza Month of Photography 2009. She recently returned from the 5th edition of the Asiko 2015 international art programme in Maputo, and previously participated in residencies and workshops in Zambia, London, Scotland and Abu Dhabi.

Friday 28 August 2015 is the last chance to view the groundbreaking provocative exhibition ‘Honai’ which ends at 4pm. In ‘Honai’, Nancy Mteki exists on the axis of self-exploration in a society that shames whilst simultaneously sexualizing and objectifying the black female form. Through the series, her body transcends space encountering and challenging the public gaze, revealing her vulnerability and displaying her power.

Equipped with the camera and experience of rejection, mothering and loss she invites the audience to her reawakening. She boldly stares at you against the backdrop of domesticity rewriting history and challenging the narrative of Black African female voicelessness. Each image layered with political force, freezing time and space, pushes one to reimagine ‘woman’, ‘man’ and ultimately ‘self’.

Politics will find you

politics2

Ten points in the Government’s plan “to maintain economic growth and especially the creation of jobs”:

Ten Point Plan

1. Revitalizing Agriculture and the Agro-processing value chain
2. Advancing Beneficiation and/or Value Addition to our agricultural and mining resource endowment
3. Focusing on infrastructural development, particularly in the key Energy, Water, Transport and ICTs subsectors
4. Unlocking the potential of Small to Medium Enterprises
5. Encouraging Private Sector Investment
6. Restoration and building of confidence and stability in the financial services sector
7. Joint ventures/ public-private partnerships to boost the role and performance of state owned companies
8. Modernising Labour Laws
9. Pursuing an Anti-Corruption thrust
10. Implementation of Special Economic Zones to provide impetus for foreign direct investment

Source: Mugabe’s State of the Nation Address

Here are some excerpts from the Survey undertaken by Mass Public Opinion Institute (MPOI):

Key findings on incidence of lived poverty
The most serious shortage confronted by most Zimbabweans across the country was the problem of cash; Some Zimbabweans also reported deprivations in respect of other basic needs e.g. clean water, medicine, food, and fuel to cook food; Matabeleland North and South provinces were the two most affected by food shortages; Harare and Bulawayo metropolitan provinces faced serious challenges in terms of access to clean water and fuel to cook food.

Key findings on Government performance & people’s development agenda
Government received worst rating in terms of job creation and most positive rating in terms of addressing educational needs; By far, unemployment ranked as the most important problem that confronts the current Government; A plurality felt the Government had not done anything important to them; The 2nd and 3rd most important problems survey respondents mentioned are: wages, incomes and salaries; and water supply; The next most important problems in the hierarchy are: corruption; poverty/destitution; and infrastructure like roads.

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Interaction & trust in key institutions
Adult Zimbabweans frequently interacted with the church (71%), more than any other institution; Traditional leaders (37%) and ZANU-PF (37%) recorded comparably fair levels of interaction with the people; The survey also showed adult Zimbabweans’ interaction with political parties over the past year was generally very low; In addition to recording the highest level of interaction with the people, churches were the most trusted institutions in Zimbabwe (83%). Other include traditional leaders (65%) and traditional courts (63%) of law, and the NGOs/Civil society organizations (63%)

Perceptions of corruption
The survey showed that Zimbabweans are rarely involved in corrupt activities themselves, but thought that some of the people working in government institutions are involved in corruption; The public perceives the police to be the most corrupt institution (57%), followed by government officials (39%), ZIMRA (37%), local government councillors (36%) and Members of Parliament (35%). Judges and Magistrates are least suspected of being corrupt; Views on causes of Zimbabwe’s economic problems; Slightly more than half (53%) of Zimbabwe’s adult population shared the view that corruption, rather than sanctions, is to blame for the economic woes; Except for political party affiliation, this view was shared by ordinary Zimbabweans across gender, age groups, province and level of education.

Use of & trust in mobile money services
Roughly seven in ten (71%) Zimbabweans had used Ecocash over the past year; Telecash (17%) and Nettcash (7%); By far, the mobile money transfer service that adult Zimbabweans trust a lot is Ecocash (60%) compared to Telecash (31%) and Nettcash (21%).

Conclusions
Almost half of adult Zimbabweans thought the country was going in the wrong direction; Zimbabweans had a gloomy assessment of their present personal and country economic conditions; The problem of cash haunts the large majority of Zimbabweans; A plurality of Zimbabweans wanted the unemployment problem addressed by the Government; A majority of Zimbabweans had heard of the new Constitution of Zimbabwe; A majority of Zimbabwe professed ignorance about ZimAsset; A majority of Zimbabweans shared the view that natural resources are not benefiting them; To achieve transitional justice, a majority of Zimbabweans agreed that perpetrators should be held accountable for what they did; A majority of Zimbabweans thought that most police officers were involved in corrupt activities; Adult Zimbabweans, across all walks of life, used Ecocash for mobile money services more than they used Telecash and Nettcash; A majority of voting age citizens said they voted in the July 2013 elections and did so freely. They also found the July 2013 Presidential, Parliamentary and Council elections to be free and fair; The July 2013 elections recorded low levels of fear of political intimidation or violence (64% was not at all afraid) and incidents of intimidation (89% said no one threatened them).

Use this link read the complete Survey

MPOI suvey highlights Zimbabweans’ despair

The latest survey report from Zimbabwe’s Mass Public Opinion Institute shares some depressing, but not surprising, information from a public opinion survey conducted in September 2014.

At the time, 57% of respondents said they would rate Zimbabwe’s economic condition as fairly or very bad, and 51% said they would describe their own personal economic condition as fairly or very bad. 42% believed Zimbabwe’s economic condition in September 2014 was worse than it was during the Government of National Unity / Inclusive Government (2009-13).

According to the survey, “Farming came first as the main source of food for many Zimbabweans; in second place was the use of a salary; in third place was project income. Remittances from relatives also played a critical role.”

Of respondents in Bulawayo, roughly a third said they sourced food through use of a salary, a quarter through farming and a quarter through remittances from relatives and friends.

Download the survey findings here

Water, History and Politics in Zimbabwe

Bulawayo’s Struggles with the Environment 1894 – 2008
Muchaparara Musemwa

This book examines the City of Bulawayo’s struggles with the environment from
1894 to 2008 given its location in the perennially semi-arid region of southwestern Zimbabwe. It focuses on a case-study of Makokoba, the city’s first and oldest township, and explores the history of its African residents and their struggles over access to water during this period from a ‘sustainable livelihoods’ perspective – one which emphasizes that human security and environmental sustainability are inextricably intertwined. The book argues that water scarcity in Bulawayo, especially as it affected Africans for the most part, was a result of both biophysical conditions and man-made policies which were linked to deep-rooted struggles over access to, and management of, water resources in both colonial and postcolonial Zimbabwe.

Published by, and available from Weaver Press Zimbabwe

In Memory of Charles Kamangwana

Mutsa Kamangwana pays tribute to Zimbabwean artist Charles Kamangwana:

The business of a company is marketed through branding. A strong brand entails a huge market share and presence. In the Visual Art Industry, not many have understood the concept. I wonder if it’s because some do not view it as a business.

Identity is what defines a Brand. At the exhibitions, sometimes, one has to look closely at the signature in order to identify the artist. Although this “lack of identity” is celebrated “diversity or willingness to explore”, it leaves a lot to be desired. Does exploring pertain to changing one’s way of presentation only or one can make use techniques .The solidness and strength of an artist cannot be ascertained by market trends as some have to dance to the “tune of the buyers” influenced by the Deco world.

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In this day and age of cheap imitations and piracy, abstract art has given opportunists and wanna be artists a life line to compete with the talented artists. Viewing some artworks, one tends to see them like some European or American imitations. The array of works can be compared to some found in international art magazines. This usually leaves a sour taste in my mouth as try to figure out what the painting will be about. I then wonder how the tourist views it too. Basically it’s like watching a young local rapper with cheap bling rapping on stage after a performance by an American rapper. What a contrast, one would be put off by the local performance as it lacks originality and identity.

With this in mind, I was drawn to Charles Kamangwana’s works. The Kamangwana Artworks have never lost their identity, whether paintings or sculptures. They do not need the Artist to be there in person to explain the meaning of the piece. It’s 3 months since Charles Kamangwana was abruptly taken away from us. I was one of the few people to view and enjoy his artworks on show amongst other artists last year. These were rare occasions as he exhibited publicly less. The moments proved to be thought provoking and revealing to the deeper nature of his choice of painting style. I always wondered why he never ventured into abstract. My question was answered then. They are self explanatory, timeless and ageless. The textures and colors also bring out the real feel of the atmosphere depicted in the piece. As for an abstract painting, no one in its new home would be able to tell what it is, unless a person remembers.

At these exhibitions, I looked around and compared his artworks to other Artists. Some artists would have different variations of styles, yet the Kamangwana style stood out consistently.  When one looked into a painting, they were drawn to think they have gone back in time, yet modern strokes, colors, painting technique has evolved. Just like wine maturing with age, his style has developed, enhancing the artworks. If one only focuses on the subject matter, they lose out on the strength of painting technique. For instance there was a painting of drinking men sitting on crates. Without a blink of an eye, one can simply say “Africa”. The sitting postures are synonymous with Africans only.

Charles metal artworks are always full of character and enigma. He defies the nortion of stoic framed pieces. As one looks at the metal sculpture, they can identify the parts used yet also feeling the life it has. I have observed on numerous occasions people being unable to hold back a smile, whilst viewing Charles ‘s metal sculptures.

In conclusion I say it takes a rare breed of calibre and stamina to withstand the test of time and not loose one’s identity or brand. Most artists were forced to prostitute their styles due to economic hardship. Considering the aspect that Art does not have much appreciation amongst locals, artists have to please the market and not showcase their works.

To Charles, I thank you for giving the insight of inner strength and confidence that one can have. We thank God for the talent you shared with us. I salute and respect you even more. Having seen a Maestro, one does not need to wonder as his dominance and presence could be felt. You left a gap that will not be easy to fill. Rest in Peace my love.

In response to the debates around the minimum age of consent to sex in Zimbabwe and in support of the recently launched AU Campaign to End Child Marriages in Africa, the Child Sensitive Social Policies Programme of the Women’s University in Africa in partnership with UNICEF Zimbabwe and SIDA, invites you to attend a Public Lecture by Professor Geoff Feltoe on ‘Strengthening our law on child sexual abuse’

Date: Wednesday 26 August 2015
Time: 9am
Venue: Women’s University in Africa Auditorium, Upper East/Brighton Road, Mt Pleasant, Harare

Watch it!

The Fate of the African Lion: The Bubye Valley Conservancy Zimbabwe a 33-minute film from The Conservation Imperative. Ivo Vegter writing for the Daily Maverick suggests, “Anyone who is inclined to jump to emotional conclusions about hunting should watch this first.” Check it out here

The Africa Centre have announced that applications for the 2015 Artists In Residency (AIR) Programme are now open: Each year, the Africa Centre, provides artists with the unique opportunity to spend four to six weeks fully dedicated to developing their craft. This year through partnerships with residency programmes in Australia, Brazil, India, Italy, Kenya, Spain, Tanzania and the United States we are proud to offer thirteen unique residencies for our 2015 AIR programme. AIR is seeking applications from high calibre African artists who are provocative, innovative, socially engaged and stretching the boundaries of their artistic practice. The AIR partners select an artist from a short list provided by the Africa Centre, for one of their 2015 or 2016 residencies. The costs of the residency and round-trip airfare are included in each residency award made. The residencies are available to artists in different stages of their career development (from emerging to late career) across all disciplines: visual arts, performing arts; creative & literary arts; film; music & curatorial practice. Each residency offers a distinct structure, set of requirements and duration. Deadline for application submissions is 30 September 2015. Go for it! Get more information here