Wildlife Exhibition:-Exploring the totems of Zimbabweans

Running from  16/06/16 -08/08/16

Lion
he National Gallery of Zimbabwe is proud to present Wildlife Exhibition: Exploring the totems of Zimbabweans an exhibition featuring William Maberly, Thomas Sagomba and Daryl Nero, to mention just a few.
The National Gallery of Zimbabwe is proud to present Wildlife Exhibition: Exploring the totems of Zimbabweans an exhibition featuring William Maberly, Thomas Sagomba and Daryl Nero, to mention just a few. This exhibition is an opportunity for artists to present work that is about the animal totems of Zimbabweans. The use of totems identifies the different clans that historically made up the ancient civilisations of the dynasties that ruled the Zimbabwean people. Most notably these symbols were associated with animal names.
 Lion
Totemism is one of the most common traditions in Zimbabwe and it has been defined as the “Practice of symbolically identifying humans with non-human objects (usually animals or plants). The classic case of totems is when a clan claims an animal as a mythological ancestor, however, the term has been used to cover a wide range of symbolic practices.” 
 
Totems in Zimbabwe are social but they inform the rules and principles of the society we live in and they have promoted the building of man’s relationship with each other and with his natural surroundings. Totems in the past were associated with spirits, religion and success of community members.
In Africa, chiefs decorated their stools and other court items with their personal totems, or with those of the tribe or of the clans making up the larger community. It was the obligation of every community member to safeguard and defend the totem. Each member was not allowed to harm any animal or vegetation and they were obliged to feed, rescue and care for animals as and when needed. It is believed that there were men that were made heroes in the past for protecting and rescuing totems. Totems were preserved and safeguarded for the community’s good.
 
Part of the role of totems were to ensure that there is a development in the society and environment. Restricting the cutting and use of selected types of vegetation was part of the culture of totems. Specific natural vegetation and wildlife are valued because they are understood to be hoarders of some spiritual forces. Moreover, it is unmentionable to visit or pass certain sites that are considered as revered. Members of the Zimbabwean communities were dejected from visiting, cutting down trees, and hunting wildlife in revered sites like specific forests and mountains. It is believe that if this was not followed, the one who defiles a revered site would be at risk of facing consequences like getting lost, disappearing forever or even becoming insane.
 
In this exhibition, the artists are strongly urging society to preserve and protect the wild because that is where we all belong. For if this does not happen, that is the end of us because we are all affected by it. The various media and techniques used in these artworks depict the sincerity and importance of where each of them come from and how they were affected by their totems. The artists feel that almost everyone in the African culture has lost direction of where they come from. Through each totem illustrated here, the artists take us through our senses of smell, taste, sight, touch and sound during the rainy and drought seasons. All these give us a scenario where the audience can relate to the artists’ works and somehow imagine ourselves in that scenario. All the works displayed here today are contemporary art.
 
Today Wildlife Exhibition: Exploring the totems of Zimbabweans occupies the corridors.
Running from  16/06/16 -08/08/16
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