ZIMBABWEAN artist Hugh Mbayiwa has brought a new selection of colourful mixed-medium works to the Elizabeth Gordon Gallery on Florida Road. His work depicts life in Zimbabwe and Durban and the diverse African spirit.

Mbayiwa discovered his passion for art with the help of his elder brother Raymond, who is also an artist. “I grew up thinking I was just copying Raymond. At about 11, after assisting my teachers with art class decorations, I discovered I had the potential and later developed a passion for art.”

Mbayiwa specialises in painting and his preferred medium is acrylic paint.

“It dries faster. I also enjoy oils but it takes a long time to dry, which is unsuitable for me as a travelling painter. Acrylic and collage also give me a good finish, on canvas or board. With canvas I roll it to be easily transported across the border.”

The work he is showing at the Elizabeth Gordon Gallery tells his story through people, modes of transport, and nature without boundaries.

“I depict busy markets full of women as drivers of the economy. African structures and fashion can be identified with my work as I represent and celebrate Africa. My ideas emanate from our African day-to-day living. I derive my expression from people and their surroundings. It takes several brushstrokes to write the full story in a creative world.”

His rural background has presented challenges for Mbayiwa’s making it in the art world as opportunities do not knock on his door often. He has also found it difficult to travel to search for an art market.

“Convincing the community about my art did not start off easy. I have also faced hardships as a long-distance travelling artist, mostly by bus. The environment affecting a South African artist can affect me… I have never thought of myself as Zimbabwean when it comes to selling my art, so that was never a factor. Hard work has been rewarded equally in South Africa.”

What can people expect from the exhibition? “People should expect a range of African subjects. They should also expect the unexpected and see the unseen. Come see colour and the sunshine that Africa offers.”


• The exhibition runs at the Elizabeth Gordon Gallery. Call 031 303 8133.