Artwork of the Week 35

Artwork of the week 35Inspiration from a Bass Player By Marvelous Mangena
 Marvelous Mangena’s painting, Inspiration from a bass player portrays a jazz band. The musicians look much older just from their dressing. It is a post- independence celebration providing a reflection on the tremendous role played by jazz music in the struggle by black people for socio-political and economic

Artwork of the week 35 Inspiration from a Bass Player By Marvelous Mangena
 Marvelous Mangena’s painting, Inspiration from a bass player portrays a jazz band. The musicians look much older just from their dressing. It is a post- independence celebration providing a reflection on the tremendous role played by jazz music in the struggle by black people for socio-political and economic independence during the colonial era.
This artwork is currently on display along with many other artworks in the Jazzified: Expression of Protest exhibition running from the 22nd of August to the 30th of October. The exhibition curated by Lilian Chaonwa and Fadzai. V Muchemwa, is a celebration of music that has shaped the history of urban Zimbabweans.
Jazz Music has its roots in the struggle of the poor, black arts movement and the Black Nationalist movements.Africans were exposed to American and South African Jazz through township loud speakers, gramophone, radio and the bioscope.
Zimbabwean Jazz also known as Afro- Jazz developed in the 20th century. Its history can be traced to the early colonial era. It was influenced by a style of township rhythm that evolved in a southern part of Africa. At that time Africans from rural Zimbabwe converged with those from Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi in townships and Jazz music was born.It was used as a medium foraddressing the socio-political struggles that the black majority were facing in the colonial system.
Jazz music was mainly played in townships, the most segregated parts in the colonial system which were reserved for black citizens. In these townships one would find Shebeens which provided black folk with a crucial place to meet and discuss political and social issues after working hours, while enjoying home brewed alcohol sold there.
It was not played on national radios because of the message that it carried which was not favourable to the colonial masters who were in power at that time.
Zimbabwe boasts of jazz artistes in the form of Victor Kunonga, Jabavu Drive and Summer Breeze, among others.
Live performances at various hotels, corporate functions, nightspots and festivals have kept the genre alive for all these years.
The current crop of jazz musicians includes Dudu Manhenga and The Colour Blu, Jazz Invitation, Tanga Wekwa Sando, Blessing Mparutsa, Rodger Hukuimwe, Sam Mataure and Prudence Katomeni-Mbofana.
Like jazz music, the artworks in this exhibition draw from life experience and human emotion as the inspiration of the creative force and a history of people. The collection on display showcases the unifying elements of the rhythm actions that brought people together. The meeting point for the reflection is the music.
Also on display,in the exhibition,is a painting by Thomas Mukarobgwa one of the early workshop painters nostalgically titled Inyanga which shows a yearning of things far beyond the everyday.
Another artwork is by Boira Muteki apocalyptic After the War which in bold colours looks at the lack of gains by Africans after the Second World War- stripped bare of apologies.

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