Misheck Masamvu creates alluring, expressive paintings full of warmth and beauty. They speak for the oppressed in an impenetrable political system where they struggle to have a voice. In this sense, the content of the paintings is based on realism and captures the difficulties of daily life.
The works explore controversial issues, like the worthlessness of human life in overpopulated parts of the world, or the inhuman priorities and decisions of Zimbabwe’s financial world and their very real human costs. The paintings are full of bodies – tired, sagging bodies with bread in front of the faces, fish in their underwear, or a dead, captured bird in their hand, as in the painting Broken Ladders.
Masamvu sees overpopulation in Zimbabwe not only as a threat to the environment, but also as a direct source of the devaluation of human life. Fruit of Life, one of Masamvu’s key paintings, depicts a vast treetop crowded with hanging, lifeless bodies.
Born in 1989, Penhalonga, Zimbabwe, Misheck Masamvu lives and works in Harare. He studied at Atelier Delta, Harare, and at Akademie der Bildenden Künste München. Apart from holding an important position in contemporary Zimbabwean painting, Masamvu, together with his wife, Gina Maxim, nurtures the local scene and other artists through their Village Unhu studio and residency programme. Masamvu has participated in the Dakar Biennale, and the 54th Venice Biennale, where he represented Zimbabwe, and the Sao Tome Biennale.