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A debut solo art exhibition induces a bundle of nerves to an artist from the moment of creation right through to the grant finale, the official day of opening when the nerves are agitated the most. The artist’s mind travels unimaginable journeys at accelerated speeds only to decelerate to zero when stuck, unable to make sense of anything then embark on wriggling, oozing through the mud to confront the genuine injustices of nature called reality.

The truth is the artist would be overwhelmed by excitement though wondering about the audience’s reaction to his or her milestone effort. This was the unmistakeable scenario at Ngonidzashe Tsiga’s debut one man show that recently opened at Koovha Gallery on 146 Enterprise Road in Harare.

Themed “Between Reality and Dreams” Mysticism amp Earth Medicine the multi-media show dominated by small sized hanging constructions of mixed media work with wide use of discarded found objects leans heavily on his Christian beliefs that he said he has to give thanks to.

He had captions accompanying each work and some were extracts from the bible. Ngonidzashe, a respectful and humble young man was extremely overwhelmed by the momentous occasion with a fairly large appreciative audience in attendance who included some senior artists and her ladyship, life dedicated cultural promoter and from the Ministry of Sport, Arts and Culture Dr Chitepo who officiated the ceremony.

She had a walkabout of the entirety of the show with Tsiga giving her an insight on each work which he said had worked tirelessly for a lengthy period at times with nerves, wondering if he would be able to pull-out the commendable show.

It is amazing how the upcoming practitioner diversified his materials from being rewarded with an overall national award in the two dimensional category in 2011 by the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe at its National Arts Merit Awards (NAMA) to now being recognised as a power of reckon in the three dimensional arena in which he was a nominee for the same NAMA awards in their 2014 14th edition.

Ngonidzashe has exhibited extensively on the local art scene since his college days at the Harare Polytechnic with some of his work being major talking points in various shows.

His current exhibition has highly expressional twenty mixed media pieces which include ‘Train’, ‘Broken Hari’, ‘The Virgins’, ‘Noah’s Ark’, ‘Horn’, ‘ AnimalRam like elephant’, ‘Horse and the Chariot’ to mention a few.

‘Broken Hari’ with the caption “I wonder why they do it” is a small sized mixed media on a hard wooden rectangular panel incorporating sized fragmented remains of an ancient Shona traditional clay pot (hari) glued spaciously around the centre where raw cobalt blue, crimson, lemon yellow and titanium white acrylics are strewn, dribbling into each other splashing all-over the mostly black and red clay pot fragments.

The piece entails the past Shona people’s spiritual belief that when unruly spirits are bestowed upon a family, they would go about consulting spiritual traditional healers (n’anga) for lasting solutions.

They would then be admonished and administered certain potions to use in performance of specific rituals before family elders secretly take some of the administered potion in a used traditional clay pot along with other few utensils to an inter-crossing foot path junction (pamhararano) at dusk or early in the morning before.

They would then destroy the clay pot with its contents on the spot of intersection expressing their wishes to their guiding spirits to free them from the curse before heading back home unnoticed.

As youngsters we were aised not touch anything or better alone avoid the cursed spot as anyone who would get in-contact with any of the contents would inherit his or her family the wreaking havoc spirits.

Similarly the same acts would be repeated by various families in agony of rampaging spirits but would vary in the usage of domestic animals like goats, sheep or chicken depending on the magnitude of the curse.

The supposedly cursed animals would be let loose to roam in the wild (kurasirira) and anyone who pounces on them for a meal would bring the bad spirits into their home.

Perhaps this will give an insight on his inquisitive caption of the piece reading “I don’t know why they do it” though it is condemnable in the artist’s Christian beliefs.

Another highly commendable work of the showcase titled ‘Noah’s Ark’ with the caption “the arrival” reminds me of this writer’s early days. An award winning metal sculpture with the same title in the then prestigious Zimbabwe Heritage annual exhibitions of the nineties that had the biblical Noah single handed loading all-sorts on to the giant ark.

Here Tsiga portrays in a painted wooden construction on the wall the enormous ship approaching the dock.

His work expresses his exceptional talent and only his abilities and desire will see him sailing through all the beeps and bumps to archive the majors in the art world.

Source : The Herald