Zimbabwe: visual artist embarks on a spiritual journey
A sense of spiritualism greets you at Studio Shavi from burgeoning visual artist Option Nyahunzvi. Located in Ruwa, it is not an extraordinary space; in fact, it is a simple carport converted into a creative space; produce exceptional works of art that have since spread across the world as mixed media works revered by top private collectors.
Among probably the hundreds of works of art produced by Nyahunzvi in this very space, there is a constant reminder of her identity, a feeling of being often evoked by totem poles.
A glance at the body of work in progress, around eight mixed media works that are a combination of acrylic, print, paper and ink, shows that Nyahunzvi often uses zebra stripes, his totem pole. .
Sometimes the stripes are painted in different parts of the body, which he says is his way of bringing out the fact that the spirit of the ancestors is still watching over his people.
“I have always focused on self-being, often relating to my ancestors,” said Nyahunzvi. “You have to know where you come from to really know yourself. I merge this notion in my work, relating to my generation, thus calling my peers to question and understand each other. execute by art. “
Nyahunzvi’s appearance reinforces his convictions and the recurring spiritualism in his work.
Of his hairstyle; from the extra thick dreadlocks popular with mbira players, to his often custom-made clothing from materials associated with spiritual mediums such as ‘retso’.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic hit the world early last year, the visual arts, like any other genre, have been affected.
Most galleries and art spaces have abandoned the traditional exhibits that draw large numbers of people to physical spaces by opting for online options.
Nyahunzvi has embraced the changing trends in the sale of his art, thus connecting with collectors and reportedly buyers via social media.
“Instagram is a great way to promote art and visibility in the art scene, especially now that we can’t interact like we used to,” he said. “Social media also exposes our art to different markets because it has a broader reach than physical spaces.”
Nyahunzvi said the pandemic has forced actors in the art world to visit each other in their workspaces.
“It is a good thing that we now visit each other more often than before, because it is the only way to see ourselves as artists and art practitioners,” he said.
Studio Shavi has had its fair share of visitors, including high profile collectors. One of the visitors is the wife of the current United States Ambassador.
“My studio is open to visitors,” he said. “We must constantly observe the Covid-19 preventive measures for the safety of all, of course. “