Home » Arts & Culture » Exploring Umoji Exhibition

The relocated KoaVha Art Gallery of elegant beer people now at Maestro Complex on 146 Enterprise Road, Highlands, Harare, recently had an exhibition opening with a somewhat unique but complex theme for the participating seven avant-garde young visual artists who gave it their all to create some remarkable representational and non-representational abstract multi media art pieces.

The theme “Umoji” emanating from the Japanese interpretation, “Emoji”, which is derived with its linkage to Japanese “Kanji” script which means bolstering expression by summarising words through image. Today it is the use of representations of facial expressions such as a smile or frown formed with keyboard characters and used in email and text messages to convey the writers’ feelings. A commentator on the show said that “the absence of totemic emoticons on social media does not communicate directly with ordinary Tendai and Chipo contextually. The work on show makes inroads on the expressive content that aims to create the beginnings of the Umoji library.”

As such Umoji is a template for the African Renaissance as it has the potential to expand across the continent to develop symbols relevant to their context and create a diverse dialectical set of images that can be adapted to the visual experience through their representation of phrases, idioms and emotions.

The power of telling the story of the here and now can be projected through these simple but robust works of art which are geared at creating a means of communication not only for art itself but as an implied image that ceases to be an object of art and but also assumes a function “.

Here in attempt to create original Shona “Emoji”, hereafter referred to as “Umoji”, referencing “Umoja” or “unity” in kiSwahili, the artists showed unlimited scope of imagination creating astounding pieces which include “Kusvikirwa” a small stone sculpture furnished with synthetic found objects by Terence Musekiwa, “kutorwa nenjuzu” found objects mixed media sculpture by Ngoni Tsiga, paintings “Ndezvemeso” and “Kuda Zvinhu” by Option Nyahunzvi, “Vharamuromo” by Peter Musami, “Afro Emoji” by Franklin Dzingai, to mention a few. The most fascinating piece and the biggest of them all is amazing installation by Johnson Zuze.

He created two reasonably big figurative sculptures in use of various found objects dominated by tying wire in which he also used to firmly fix into his desired positions the several 750 millilitre liquor bottles he used to represent mostly the chunky body parts. All the construction objects seem caged by the wire haphazardly.

The installation comprises the two figures on a sleeping bed covered by titanium white bed sheets with clean fluffy pillows.

The female figure in high erotica impatiently lay in waiting with her torso supported from the clean sheets by her elbows whilst the emotionally excited head tilts slightly to the right from the vertical axis. Her flabby legs slightly apart but not stretched to the fullest she wonders when it will be that her chosen suitor will make his aances.

The suitor seemed to be stuck kneeling also in nude at a safe ostentatious distance overwhelmed by eroticism gazing the renowned beauty ahead of him.

He learns heavily backward with everything seeming erected from the dirty black brittles of the huge cadmium yellow house painting brush that makes up his mask-like head, the ends of the tying wire down to his tough cracked toe nails.

Source : The Herald