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Cinga Samson: ‘a different conversation on representation’ Ocula Conversation Cinga Samson: ‘a different conversation on representation’ By Jareh Das, New York

Cinga Samson 's paintings lay bare the complex relationship between contemporary life, African traditions, globalisation, and representation. His strikingly sombre portraits contain similarities to those of contemporary painters such as Toyin Ojih Odutola, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye , Kehinde Wiley , Florine Démosthène, and Tunji...

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Dhaka Art Summit 2020: Seismic Movements Ocula Report Dhaka Art Summit 2020: Seismic Movements By Radha Mahendru, Dhaka

Seismic Movements , the fifth Dhaka Art Summit, plotted movements, solidarities, and exchanges across the Global South with over 500 artists, scholars, curators, and thinkers.

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Guo Hongwei on Seeing Patterns That Don’t Exist Ocula Insight Guo Hongwei on Seeing Patterns That Don’t Exist By Sherry Paik, New York

Guo Hongwei's recent watercolour paintings, showing at Chambers Fine Art in New York from 3 March, trigger pareidolia—the phenomenon of seeing random objects or patterns where they do not exist.

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HomePage Artists

b. 1980, Zimbabwe

Misheck Masamvu Biography

Zimbabwean artist Misheck Masamvu creates paintings, sculptures, and drawings that flow between an individual and communal voice to tell stories deeply rooted in the context of contemporary Zimbabwe. In a political practice characterised by bold, loose brushstrokes and vivid colours, the artist leans into discomfort as a tool with which to provoke the viewer.

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Originally a realist painter, Masamvu slowly gravitated towards an approach to figuration more reminiscent of Abstract Expressionism. In one interview, he describes oil painting as 'playing in the mud mixed with tears and your sweat.' This emotive, energetic approach to painting is palpable in his vibrant canvases and yet simultaneously belies a sense of conflict and ambivalence. In layer upon layer of paint, the artist uses the confident gestural strokes of Abstract Expressionism alongside figurative elements to create a nuanced portrait of contemporary Zimbabwean life; a portrait that is both a critical analysis of the nation's flaws and a passionate love letter to his home and community.

Masamvu's practice is preoccupied with the socio-political environment of post-independence Zimbabwe. Zombie President (2017)— one of a series of president-themed paintings— satirically portrays the eroding effects of greed and despotism. Using art as a form of activism, the artist looks to comment on the current political landscape, and in doing so, empower his fellow Zimbabweans towards a better future.

To best reflect this uncomfortable political climate, Masamvu's paintings invite the viewer into feelings of discomfort. In one interview, the artist compares a painting to a sunset, remarking that a sunset is more beautiful with clouds. In Thigh Lock (2013), the possibility of sex and violence merge to create a layered narrative in which it is not known if the outcome is pleasure or pain. In Gift from John the Baptist (2017), the famous image of John the Baptist's head on a platter is complicated by a body still attached underneath the platter. In Knuckle Bones (2018), the artist uses colours in a range of pastel shades to evoke the youthful atmosphere of the childhood game, and yet there is also a sense that something sinister lurks beneath. By creating an unstable narrative that often verges on the grotesque, the artist captures the viewer's attention with a more sustained gaze.

Though best known for his paintings, the distinctive tone of Masamvu's sculptures adds another layer of complexity to his practice. While his canvases are dynamic worlds of colour, the sculptures are more subdued and minimalist. The stained wood carving Misheck we miss you love from dead mother and twin sister (2017) is shaped like a flat, elongated 'H', and is painted black except for three white cuffs. When installed it leans against the wall, standing around human height. Though the piece itself does not reveal as much as some of the artist's paintings, the title hints at a much deeper story, lending the sculpture a similar narrative energy to the paintings.

Masamvu studied at Atelier Delta and Munich's Kunstakademie. He represented Zimbabwe in the 54th Venice Biennale in 2011, and has participated in a range of other prestigious exhibitions and events both locally and internationally.

Casey Carsel | Ocula | 2019

Misheck Masamvu Featured Artworks

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Correct Mistake by Misheck Masamvu contemporary artwork
Misheck MasamvuCorrect Mistake, 2017Wood, canvas and oil paint
65.7 x 21.3 x 0.8 inches
Goodman Gallery Enquire about this work
Misheck we miss you love from dead mother and twin sister by Misheck Masamvu contemporary artwork
Misheck MasamvuMisheck we miss you love from dead mother and twin sister, 2017Stained wood carving
73.6 x 19.7 x 0.8 inches
Goodman Gallery Enquire about this work
Trophies and Sycophants by Misheck Masamvu contemporary artwork
Misheck MasamvuTrophies and Sycophants, 2019Oil on canvas
110.2 x 80.7 inches
Goodman Gallery Enquire about this work
Pinky Scratch by Misheck Masamvu contemporary artwork
Misheck MasamvuPinky Scratch, 2018Oil on canvas
75.6 x 66.5 inches
Goodman Gallery Enquire about this work
Therapy Lounge by Misheck Masamvu contemporary artwork
Misheck MasamvuTherapy Lounge, 2019Oil on canvas
400 x 180 cm
Goodman Gallery Enquire about this work
Counting Coins by Misheck Masamvu contemporary artwork
Misheck MasamvuCounting Coins, 2019Oil on canvas
261 x 208 cm
Goodman Gallery Enquire about this work
Cat's Cradle by Misheck Masamvu contemporary artwork
Misheck MasamvuCat's Cradle, 2019Oil on canvas
209 x 175 cm
Goodman Gallery Enquire about this work
Benediction by Misheck Masamvu contemporary artwork
Misheck MasamvuBenediction, 2019Oil on canvas
260 x 205 cm
Goodman Gallery Enquire about this work

Misheck Masamvu Recent Exhibitions

Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, I’ve grown roses in this garden of mine at Goodman Gallery, London
Closed
3 October–2 November 2019 Group Exhibition I’ve grown roses in this garden of mine Goodman Gallery, London
Contemporary art exhibition, Misheck Masamvu, Hata at Goodman Gallery, Cape Town
Closed
20 July–31 August 2019 Misheck Masamvu Hata Goodman Gallery, Cape Town

Misheck Masamvu Represented By

Misheck Masamvu In Related Press

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‘STILL STILL:’ In Conversation with Misheck Masamvu Related Press ‘STILL STILL:’ In Conversation with Misheck Masamvu

ART AFRICA: So let's start from the beginning. Please tell us a bit about your childhood? Were you an only child? Misheck Masamvu: No, I was born in a family of what was meant to be six siblings, six children, but then my twin died. So there were five that survived. I'm the only boy. I grew up in a family with girls. It wasn't easy, as I was...

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Carnivorous Politics, Defiant Bodies: Harare Painting in Turbulent Times Related Press Carnivorous Politics, Defiant Bodies: Harare Painting in Turbulent Times 26 May 2018, Frieze

Over the past two decades, Zimbabwe, a largely agrarian southern African country of 17 million inhabitants, has been buffeted by seemingly endless troubles. The carnivorous politics at the centre of these problems are hard to overlook – particularly in appraisals of art from this landlocked country – but are also easily overstated. Despite the...

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South African art shines at the Armory Show Related Press South African art shines at the Armory Show 9 March 2018, The Art Newspaper

Two years after the Armory Show's Focus section offered a cross section of African galleries (the geographic frame was abandoned thereafter), dealers and young artists from South Africa, already in the spotlight with the opening of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, have made a particularly strong showing at this year's fair (8-11...

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South Africa’s hottest artists at 1:54 New York this week Related Press South Africa’s hottest artists at 1:54 New York this week 5 May 2016, The South African

Aida Muluneh: A critically acclaimed photographer, Aida Muluneh's work is firmly embedded in the essences of identity, memory, relationships and emotion. Having lived in Ethiopia, Yemen, England and Cyprus as a child, Muluneh temporarily settled in Canada in 1985, before taking up study at Howard University in Washington, the US in 2000, where she...

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