BY NYADZOMBE NYAMPENZA
HARARE residents are being treated to splendid art that moves, courtesy of Shingai Shonhiwa of The Noisettes.
The Zimbabwean musician based in the United Kingdom commissioned local collectives CaliGraph, Skeyi and Strobo, with Spinx to paint a bold and colourful mural on a bus as promotion for her independent album titled Too Bold.
Old AVM buses are often referred to as “chicken buses”. Through over use and poor maintenance many are in terrible shape and have become an eyesore on the road.
Thanks to abundant talent and collaborations, one has been transformed into a sight for sore eyes.
Befitting the title of Shonhiwa’s project, the mural is bold, loud and saturated with colour.
The bus serves Harare and inter-city commuters, and can be seen at Fourth Street bus terminus in the capital. The mural on the bus features an over the shoulder portrait of Shonhiwa with an imposing plaited and braided hairstyle.
The image is appropriated from her album art for Too Bold. At its rear end, the bus features a bespectacled portrait of local producer and collaborator Verseless. Graphic patterns surrounding the body of the vehicle are drawn from design motifs used by local tribes, a tribute to indigenous knowledge systems.
Familiar landscapes of acacia trees, a giraffe, Birchenough Bridge, the Victoria Falls and a skyline of Harare central business district silhouetted against the horizon — draw the eye across the length of the bus.
Shonhiwa’s decision to engage with the local talent is a big vote of confidence and show of patriotism by the internationally renowned artiste.
The pimped out “chicken bus” is a positive metaphor for the country. Its bright colours project a sunny outlook.
Draped in colours of the Zimbabwe flag at the front, it carries its passengers in the spirit of true love for kin and country.
Emblazoned at the front end is the declaration of “birthright”, an indiscriminate proclamation for the wellbeing of all.
CaliGraph is a group of young artists made up of Marcus Zvinavashe, Nyasha Jeche, Tanaka Banga, Petronella Charlie, Wadzanai Rukweza and Melisa Gumbo.
Skeyi and Strobo is the duo of Ulenni Okandlovu and Nolwazi Ndlovu while Spinx represents Blackorwhitezw who hails from Bulawayo.
The three crews have collaborated on a number of public murals around the country and their work can be seen brightening up the neighbourhood from Nkulumane in Bulawayo to Glen Norah in Harare.
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