Boniface Chimedza Arts Correspondent
Fine artist Forgiveness Mujokeri is holding a thought-provoking solo Art Exhibition dubbed “The Lost Identity” at the Iran Culture Centre in Mount Pleasant.
The exhibition seeks to anchor in people’s conscience the importance of having tolerance towards other people’s existence, respecting their cultures, religions and traditions.
“The Lost Identity” also signifies the existence and importance of each and every person, tribe, species, race, family and religion in the world.
In an interview, Mujokeri said he drew his inspiration from people’s life experiences.
“I was motivated by the dispensation of today’s world as it is very different from the world recorded in history. Ancient cultures and traditions have gone extinct to the detriment of the younger generation.
“‘The Lost Identity’ exhibition addresses how these issues rise in the world today,” said Mujokeri.
Currently studying for a Diploma in Fine Arts at Harare Polytechnic College, Mujokeri was born and raised in Redcliff, Kwekwe, where he pursued his primary education at Redcliff Primary School. The artist proceeded to Batanai High School for his secondary education, formally starting his artistic journey thereafter, in 2010, when he enrolled at Harare Polytechnic College.
Mujokeri also taught art at Queen Elizabeth Girls High School as a student teacher in 2016 for one term and has exhibited his artworks at Tertiary Institutions Festival of Art (TIFAZ) where he was representing Harare Polytechnic College.
“The exhibition addresses how living and non-living things fight for their identity in the world so that they may not encounter social rejections, racism, cultural diversity, abuse and inferiority. Everything in the world has an identity, biological and non-biological things, they all comprise an existence title, which connects to their perceived purpose of existence,” Mujokeri said.
Mujokeri artistically juxtaposes the perceived quest by inanimate objects to create and retain their identity to mankind’s search for a purpose and meaning in life; symbolically personifying disused and rejected objects as human beings who have lost their identity and sense of belonging.
The Lost Identity comprises paintings and drawings of people and different historical objects such as the old and rejected cars which give an image of rejection, abandonment and emptiness.
Essentially, the artwork consists of paintings of people from different cultures, beliefs and religion, races, tribes and nationalities with images that are painted to show social problems, neglection, abandoned and rejection of people within the society.
Paintings of peoples and things with great and adorable identities are also shown to express cultural and religious identities. The exhibition portrays how all these things fight and speak out their voices directly and indirectly, with the artist referring the way in which these things draws our attention as the voice in which they speak.
Mujokeri’s work shows how culture and tradition affect identity development in people, addressing the rise of cultural diversion and signifying cross-cultural impression management.
“People are alienated from a different culture, and the paintings exhibit how people can adapt to the new host cultures. The paintings and drawings depict different cultures and their customs. The history of different tribes and how they used to live and also their traditions,” said Mujokeri.
The biblical cultures and characters are also depicted, including the history of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba and the cultures of the biblical tribes. The exhibition also addresses African cultures like the Maasai, the Bushman, the Tonga, the Swahili, the Shona and the Bantu.
The Persian, American, Asian and British cultures are also reflected, highlighting how these cultures have shaped the world today and how it is important in our society. Traditional dressing, cultural ways of life and beliefs, cultural inventions, technology versus culture are also addressed in the exhibition.
“The show reflects social connections across people from different cultures and religions. It tells us that there is always a space for everyone in this world and that we must always consider other people as we live. The exhibition gives us the freedom and courage to express ourselves, our identity and our culture in the world,” added Mujokeri.
The Lost Identity was officially opened on Monday the 6th of August at the Iranian Culture Centre in Mount Pleasant and will run until the 18th of August.