The flickering flames divided my Grandmother's face into lines and tones as she perfected one of her clay pots. Mother Nature, the Sans Bushmen and my Grandmother were my first art teachers. I was born in the rural areas of Zimbabwe (what was then called Rhodesia). As a child, I marveled at the mountains, red soil and the hazy sunrises of the surrounding landscape as I took my cattle and goats to graze. Mother Nature seemed to have created the perfect combination of fluid textural contrast and vivid colors. While my herds grazed, I would discover the rock paintings of the Sans Bushmen and stare at the messages left by a people who had long since migrated elsewhere. When I was not herding cattle and goats, I was often watching my Grandmother shape clay pots, detailing them precisely with corn husk, fingers and knives. I envied her ability to shape the earth with the light touch of her hands. Following my Grandmother's example, I decided to shape the earth with pictures. Using natural pigments from berries, charcoal, mud and anything else that would leave a mark, I began to paint. I continued to paint combining natural pigments with oils and acrylics.
I have now received my Advanced Level Certificate in Art; and I have exhibited throughout my country (Zimbabwe) and the United States. My painting has been most inspired by Twentieth Century 'Surreal Abstract Expressionists' such as Salvador Dali, Jackson Pollock and Max Ernst, because in addition to employing innovative techniques, these artists expressed radical ideas for their time period and their works continue to evoke deep emotions about society and culture within the viewer.
An appreciation of painting as a form of African Art and expression is a relatively new phenomena amongst Africans as well as other peoples. As an African Painter, I have a special interest in introducing African Painting as an art form to the worldwide community. In correspondence with my philosophy about painting, I would like to begin my introduction of African Painting to other artists and those interested in art. To establish in these artists and others a deeper understanding of my art and to include an understanding of other African (Shona) art forms, I would like to follow-up with workshops (class lectures, activities, etc.) that further explain these origins.
True success in my endeavors will depend on a diverse community with extensive resources. Because of the ethnic and cultural diversity and high standards of the public, New York City is epitomized as a haven for artistic expression. New York is also a most central point for worldwide communication; hence it is an ideal place to begin this introduction process.
The process of self-education is never complete. During the year (1993) that I spent touring the United States, my greatest lessons were those that gave me a better understanding of myself and my people. Often, these most inspirational occurred as I connected with other people of African descent. New York City has a large population of African-American artists and numerous outlets for them to express themselves. My tour also introduced me to many people who were not of African descent and the revelations that these interactions caused were equally probing and inspirational as I began to better understand other cultures and the roles that each one plays in the global community. I believe that networking and connecting with these specific communities will be conducive to the introduction of African Painting as I continue to pursue my art.
This network and connection will also enhance my ability to contribute to the African (Zimbabwean) community development, as one of my goals is to start numerous art programs throughout my country. Many young Zimbabwean and other African artists are being silenced because painting is not yet considered to be an 'African Art Form.' As an African Painter, I have begun to break this silence and it will always be my mission to continue to do so.