Chokuwamba mirrors societal challenges on canvas

Source: Chokuwamba mirrors societal challenges on canvas –Newsday Zimbabwe

In an interview with NewsDay Life & Style, Chokuwamba said the exhibition was part of a healing process from societal traumas and experiences.

VISUAL artist Again Chokuwamba is using paint and brush to highlight societal challenges, human interactions and the beauty of nature.

His on-going solo exhibition titled Drowning in My Senses at the First Floor Gallery in the capital is a compilation of work derived from Harare’s high-density suburbs’ living patterns, appreciation of women and motherhood, human interaction and healing.

In an interview with NewsDay Life & Style, Chokuwamba said the exhibition was part of a healing process from societal traumas and experiences.

“From where I belong, they don’t understand me and what they do not understand they seek to destroy. This drove me to conclude that what we think affects how the humankind feels, what we feel also affects how we behave.

“How people behave influences how they feel. I am drowning deep in my senses asking myself, what is really my contribution to the world,” he said.

Chokuwamba describes his work practice as personal, poetic and storytelling. He said this was also influenced by how he saw people in the community, interactions between people, their daily experiences and what they invest their time in.

“I come from a background where people like me, who identify as artists, are looked down on. As different stereotypes emerged since time immemorial regarding artists. I take it to my canvas to express and highlight some crucial issues in the community.

“I see the connection between human nature and the window or rather a reflective surface as very extraordinary, spiritual and poetic,” he said

For a person who finds much peace and calmness in nature, flowers resemble life. His artifact, Chigaro Chinotefa, shows a woman sitting on a chair surrounded by blooming flowers.

The female figure in the chair resembles his mother or basically all women. This piece basically appreciates mothers.

Through the drawing, Chokuwamba said he hoped to send the message that his mother or all mothers out there have to rest while the grown-up children take care of their parents and responsibilities as breadwinners.

He further notes that mothers work tirelessly to raise children and it is the latter’s duty to provide for them when they are adults, while they rest.

Another piece, Kanofa naRasta, depicts women who throw themselves at men, particularly due to lust. The artwork is typically a reflection of women’s affection towards men they do not know or they just met: A true story derived from what Chokuwamba witnesses from his Kuwadzana neighbourhood.

The painting Zvekuzvitsvagira, as noted by the artist, is based on a story inspired by a man he saw in his neighbourhood growing up impoverished, but ended up becoming rich, though his source of income was questionable.

Rumours had it that he acquired wealth through dark means.

In Some Nights, the artist illustrates the story of partners in a romantic relationship embroiled in an argument. He said in a relationship, a partner may wrong his or her better half and take advantage of their calmness. In such a situation, the other partner  might not be able to forgive, although they might seem to forget.

In this painting, Chokuwamba said he was reflecting his past, drawing inspiration from his life and as part of the healing process, he needed self-space to spend time in restaurants and parks. This is when he saw another couple and it reminded him of the time he used to do the same things with his girlfriend.

Chokuwamba, who pursued art at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, said he lived for art and was able to generate income from his paintings.