Monday, September 20, 2021
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Three days of Umhandara hwaAmai Art


Samuel
Njinga

The Umhandara hwaAmai Art exhibition took place over three days at Charles
Austin Theatre after being officially launched by the Youth Cultural Arts
Festival (Yocal) board member Dr Fredrick Kasese on November 08.
The exhibition was the
brainchild of 23-year-old Gracious Joto, an Interior Design and Fabric Art
student at Chinhoyi University of Technology (Cut).
When asked why she opted
for the name Umhandara hwaMai which literally means ‘mother’s virginity’, Joto
said she wanted a name which could aptly capture the unique visual appeal
offered by her work of art.
“In the literal sense,
you can’t see your mother’s virgin days so our work gives you the opportunity
to see something equivalent. It’s a work of art that you would not want to miss
as it is uniquely appealing. That is the message behind it all; something that
no eye has ever seen before,” said Joto.
To make her art, Joto
makes use of such readily available materials as cardboard boxes, rags, shrubs,
leaves, wood and twigs.
The art is made all the
more distinct by Joto’s choice of theme titles; contemporary issues that
revolve around culture including gender stereotypes inherent in conservative
societies.
In one of her pieces
titled ‘Me and my mind’, she presents a woman who is seen to be yelling for
help as she is bound by chains on her throat. Closer examination shows human
footprints dominating the part of her body that should ordinarily contain her
brain, highlighting the African woman’s struggle against a highly patriarchal
society.
    

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