About the artist
ZACH MUKWIRA credits his Zambian grandmother for inspiring his storytelling skills.
He combines the stories his grandmother related, with the traditions with which he
was brought up, contemporising them for modern life. His work suggests the
imagined aspect of storytelling, combined with vibrant colour, design and patterning.
Mukwira’s father, the son of a powerful chief in Mozambique, was the youngest son
of a thirteenth wife, and chosen as heir apparent. On the death of the chief, mayhem
broke out amongst the descendants as disagreement raged on whom was
considered the rightful heir. Mukwira’s father fled, with his immediate family, to live in exile in Zimbabwe.
Stories of this turmoil and its consequences, coloured Mukwira’s upbringing and
helped develop his artistic language, and visual storytelling.
It is these imaginary images that come to life in the vibrant and colourful
compositions that predominate in Mukwira’s oeuvre. Patterned design, combined
with colourful motif, are woven throughout the linear drawing of the composition.
Spitting into the Wind features a woman, eyes closed, serene in the depth of her
music, blowing a golden saxophone. Whirling around her imagined harmony, fish
transforming from leaves, or into leaves, swirl through the rhythmic syncopation of
Harmony, musicality and rhythmic colour compositions combined with formal
structure and controlled line, produce dynamic compositional imagery. A sense of
magic circulates within the configurations, enabling the viewer’s mind to wander and
explore, deciding its own interpretation.
2004 Mukwira participated in the Stellenbosch Outdoor Sculpture trust. 2005-2007
Nandos commissioned Mukwira to make paintings to be exhibited in their different
restaurants throughout South Africa. He has exhibited in galleries throughout South
Africa, Zimbabwe and the USA. 2014 Awarded First prize in the New Signatures
Mukwira volunteers at visual arts institutions to share drawing and painting skills with disabled children.