Addressing political and environmental issues through art

British photographer Christopher Hunt is featuring in a photo exhibition titled Perception 360 which premiered at the National Art Gallery in Bulawayo last week.

Other exhibitors include visual artists Mthabisi Phili and Virginia Chihota.

The exhibition is an annual showcase titled Voices In Colour. There are indeed plenty of colourful works that go hand-in-glove with the title of the exhibition. Every year, it is divided into subthemes hence Perception 360 this year.

Hunt, a well-travelled photographer, has brought to the City of Kings and Queens pictures from far-flung countries such as India, Burma and neighbouring South Africa. There are also some pictures from Zimbabwe.

Officially opening the exhibition on Thursday last week, author and historian Phathisa Nyathi said the exhibition was relevant because it addresses common political and environmental issues in Zimbabwe and the world at large.

He said it is important to “note that perceptions are subjective and are influenced by our world view. Diversity is a reality we cannot wish away”.
Hunt started taking pictures in Zimbabwe in July last year.

“Zimbabwe is a great place to take shots,” he said in an interview with NewsDay.

He took some great pictures in India’s Varanaji and Jaipur cities.

“India is full of colour and their culture is rich,” he said.

One of the most striking pictures that Hunt took is one from Burma, titled Fishing for Democracy.

Hunt said he visited the politically troubled country in January last year.

Fishing for Democracy could not have been done at a more relevant time as the people in Burma have been under military rule that has been condemned the world over for trampling on the rights of citizens.

Even more striking is the scene that depicts a fisherman standing on the very edge of his boat with the nets seemingly empty.

Contrast the river scene with life in the city.

“I went to Rangoon, a city with a population of 45 million people. It was eerie at night because the streets would be empty at night, completely deserted, because there was no electricity almost daily and it was very dark.”

Hunt is a self-taught photographer and has just under two years in photography. The 33-year-old is a former investment bank employee in Sydney, Australia.

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