See Wycliffe Mundopa’s ‘Pachipamwe’ (We Meet Again) at Southern Guild

Zimbabwean artist Wycliffe Mundopa’s ‘Pachipamwe’ (We Meet Again) solo exhibition opens at Southern Guild in the Silo District of the V&A Waterfront on 8 February 2023. Hosted in collaboration with First Floor Gallery Harare, this exhibition of figurative oil paintings on large-scale canvases depicts the complex lives of Zimbabwe’s women and children.

By Debbie Hathway

Mundopa’s paintings are defined by “lurid hues, vibrant pattern, rich allegory and animal symbolism”, reflecting how he sees and experiences life, particularly that of the most vulnerable. The artist mixes allegorical with the mundane – a vividly spotted hyena is carried to the local market, fruit sellers sit streetside in striped stockings and circus garb, and a woman’s face bears the distinct snout of a pig. Close inspection reveals commentary on the country’s broader societal fabric and its fluctuating moral codes.

Mundopa draws from the tradition of the Old Dutch Masters to present his countrywomen as dynamic and joyous, resilient and vibrant – but not without pain.

Valerie Kabov, co-founder of First Floor Gallery, says, “Using the dichotomies of anger in beauty and beauty in the pain, Mundopa enables us to emerge from the dichotomy of looking and seeing. Not only do his mythologised but dramatically real subjects compel you to see them, they challenge you to question the way you look, moving between didactic and heroic as though that was a natural oscillation.”

Mundopa is hailed as one of Zimbabwe’s most recognised and successful contemporary artists. Since joining First Floor in 2009, his career highlights include a 2020 solo exhibition at Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery in London, followed by his winning South Africa’s FNB Art Prize in 2021.

‘Pachipamwe’ (We Meet Again) is the first collaboration between Southern Guild and First Floor Gallery Harare, an internationally respected contemporary art space. The exhibition is on until 20 April 2023.

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