Myths of Harare
19 February - 26 March 2015
Commune.1 is pleased to present an exhibition of large-scale oil paintings by Zimbabwean painter Wycliffe Mundopa.
Combining personal iconography and allegorical imagery with harsh and gritty references to social reality, Mundopa’s paintings confront the issues facing marginalised groups in Harare’s underprivileged neighborhoods, specifically the plight of woman and children. He transforms the drab fruit carts and dusty streets of Mbare, Harare’s most populous and high-density area, into a sardonic and contorted fantasyland of vice and excess.
Where others may turn to realism to depict such harsh realities, Mundopa endeavors to create a new mythologised language for urban Zimbabwe and its fluctuating moral codes. Here we are seduced by the pageantry of emotionally charged tableaus and the characters they entertain: powerful fish and frog motifs mutate into nurses and prostitutes that are clad in satin stockings and African java prints. These aliases function as ancestral voices calling out to remember the value of each human life, before being drowned out by the overarching urge to succeed at all costs. In this way, his work presents an opportunity to see how painfully and vibrantly womens’ lives -whether they are the mother, prostitute, caregiver, breadwinner, the successful or the poor- reflect the conflicts of political agendas, tradition and shifts within contemporary life in Zimbabwe.
Wycliffe Mundopa (b.1987, Rusape, Zimbabwe) lives and works in Harare, Zimbabwe. Mundopa’s exceptional skill as a draftsman brings a masterful ease to his paintings and has won him acclaim and popularity with both collectors and critics. He is represented by First Floor Gallery (Harare) and from 2011-2014 has had numerous solo and group shows there. His works are collected and exhibited in Hong Kong, Kenya, Australia, France, UK, Germany, The Netherlands, Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea.