Kuedza Mudzimu nesengere, review by Hélio Menezes
Tendai Mupita is a visual sarungano; a storyteller that conveys imagination, feeling and mytical sensations through colorful, bright compositions.
Drinking from the long tradition of African orature, his images are dramatic, vivid and fluid, like the texture of dreams. As visions or reflections on trickling water, Mupita’s works give shape to imaginative, hybrid beings and quasi-geometric forms through an unique combination of color, light and line – or the absence of it –, which exist somewhere between abstraction and figurativism. Neither mosaic, nor pointillist, his compositions explore the circularity of dots and mandalas as homage to Shona culture, especially its vernacular architecture.
From Shona oral art, his works invoke non-human figures, which are portrayed traditionally as trickster heroes: anthropomorphized animals with magical powers who embody opposite truths or behaviors, often used to create comprehension of the unknown or to teach people how to deal with contradictions in life.
The paintings presented in “Kuedza Mudzimu nesengere” (“Testing the waters”) express a cosmovision in which the natural world, spiritual realm and human existence are intrinsically linked. They create an aura of illumination maybe only achieved through meditative states, where linearity is washed away by the power of ancestrality, the revelation of self and the depth of knowing through subjective observation. Mupita’s first solo show in Europe is an awakening for wider viewers to the unique talent of this contemporary Zimbabwean artist; as well as an invitation to dive with him in another way of experiencing the world(s), which is as mystical as it is real.