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Intimate abstractions of Mushate

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BY NYADZOMBE NYAMPENZA

IT is easy to follow visual artist Amanda Mushate’s line of thought in her latest solo exhibition Nguva ine Muridzi, at First Floor Gallery Harare.

Her paintings are done in the abstract style with elements of figuration. Her lines are deceptively simple.

They unravel complex human emotions. The philosophical title is both submissive and fatalistic.

The exhibition is made up of pieces of different sizes and palettes. The individual titles indicate a biographical concern to resolve existential issues.

One of the pieces is titled Uthando lubuza mina lawe. It is in large canvas and the subject is on a cloudy grey background. A topography of green, purple and blue invokes a landscape of emotions.

The green and purple may look like foliage. A thin blue line expands like a river flowing into a lake that spills into a river, which pours into another lake in a repetitious cycle.

A fine red line traces around the scene like an unbroken string of life. On top of it all is the outline of a man and woman illustrated by a single perpetual line.

Besides the man and woman there is a baby. The three figures may be seen as a family. The woman and the man can be called husband and wife.

Some people are afraid of abstract art, but the style suits Mushate’s sentimental theme. Love is an abstract emotion. Verbal descriptions and gestures fall short of showing what it really is like.

In a single line, Mushate draws husband and wife establishing them as one. The completeness of the line ensures that nothing can get between them. Amazingly, not even the child. For its own sake, the child exists outside its parents’ conjoined bodies.

The dominant green on the canvas broadcasts physical wellbeing. The purple invokes spiritual wellbeing.

In the age of duplicitous influencers, Mushate raises an authentic voice. The inclusive phrase “mina lawe” incorporates the viewer into her serene picture.

It may be idealistic to assume that the whole scenario is being orchestrated by a grand benign force called love. But the naivete it takes to believe is a better prospect than cynical objection.

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