Tatenda Mapisire

Artist Catalogue

Virtual Exhibition

Mythology and folklore have been intriguing topics that have shaped my creative approach to making art. My interest in myths is how the narratives time immemorial have been passed through from people to people to transmit and educate a message. Accumulation of these myths and mysteries while contemplating them in this modern era is significant in deciding the direction I intend to manoeuvre in my everyday life. My interest in mythology is an aftermath of how my culture (Shona) enriched with oral traditions. Oral traditions shape the foundation of the Shona culture. It is in the heritage of the people to preserve history through passing narratives from generation to generation. The element of passing on knowledge, philosophies, and history through word of mouth has made me go back in time and understand how oral traditions began and affect modern living. My body of work reflects cultural preservation as I focus on one of the initial ancestral figures who contribute to the creation and expansion of the Shona people. Murenga soro renzou is a revered ancestral figure among the Shona people. He was a fearsome character as described in oral tradition narratives. His legacies are an inspiration to Shona revolutionary groups when fighting for independence. Murenga had his children – Mushavanhu, Chaminuka, and Gumbi.

The children of Murenga went on to lead the people in all ways of living, spreading customs and philosophies they had inherited from their ancestors. His children with the people are the ancestors that sojourned from East and Central Africa towards the Southern parts of the continent. The accounts of these individuals are fascinating as they inspire me to undertake cultural-historical projects. The reason for seeking an understanding of the origin of the Shona people are thoughts of migrating and belonging that have been perpetual in my thoughts. The notion of belonging and migrating has led me to find mechanisms on how to adapt. It is in the concept of adapting that I contemplate when the Shona ancestral figures acclimatized while sojourning. While reflecting on the themes of belonging and migrating, I remember through oral tradition how the Shona people were migrating within the plains of subSaharan Africa before settling in present-day Zimbabwe. Comparing the cultural migrations to everyday living has been significant in understanding and learning what is ideal when residing in unfamiliar spaces. Moving from one country to another has its challenges because of learning new systems of living. As an inspiration by how the ancestors adapted while migrating, the belief in adapting is what I highly embrace. My body of work aims to illustrate notions of belonging, having pride in being part of the cultural DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) established for thousands of years.