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Painter mirrors political, social issues


Zimbabwe’s political and social issues have always created a lot of debate among politicians, occasionally spilling over into the arts sector.

For visual artist Mthabisi Phili, issues could be succinctly summarised by the title of his visual piece: Zimbabwe Saga.

In Phili’s painting that forms part of an exhibition entitled Perception 360, he used his artistic skills to capture the political and social discourse though newspaper headlines.

The media has also played a central and pivotal role in bringing to the fore the continued bickering on the political front that has had a negative impact on the national economy.

The once-beautiful breadbasket of Africa has been reduced to a begging bowl in the past decade.

Phili’s work on aluminium using oils, shows newspapers titles such as NewsDay, the Zimbabwe Independent, The Standard, Mail & Guardian, Daily News as well as the State-run Chronicle and Sunday News.

There are writings on the painting that depict reports from the media about the goings-on in the country.
“I called the work the Zimbabwe Saga because there are many unresolved issues in the country,” said the artist with a tinge of amusement.

“There is a lot of talk in society, about the Government of National Unity, about national integration.”

At the bottom of the painting, a male figure is in sitting position, head bowed with folded arms deep in thought. Such is the country’s saga that one has to sit down and possibly ponder about the future.

“My works are derived from a lot of reading and observation,” said the artist who doubles up as a poet.

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