LEADING oil painter, John Kotze’s painting, Power Cuts, released a year ago is now a living prophecy amid unprecedented power outages whi
ch have besieged Zimbabwe in the past months.
Power supply was consistent and reasonably sustainable 12 months ago when Kotze gave IndependentXtra an interview. However, this time around the painting has become more vivid as the country is said to be facing an imminent threat of plunging into darkness if corrective measures are not devised forthwith.
Power utility Zesa is facing a plethora of problems ranging from inadequate foreign currency to import electricity from South Africa, Mozambique and the DRC, which amounts to about 35% of national consumption.
The painting is polysemic in nature as the sheer artistic prowess of Kotze refines his work into a product of unparalleled ingenuity, thus having the rare ability to produce futuristic pieces whose meaning can only be decoded when the gestation period is over.
Kotze arrived home last week from Cuba where he was attending the Havana Biennale Art Exhibition ending this month. He said some of his work is driven by the politics of the day, while the rest is non-political. “Some of my work is political but not all of it,” said Kotze. “When I released Power Cuts last year, different people approached me insisting that I heed their suggested titles to my work. Some said I should call it Power to the people, while the bulk of them wanted me to call it Back 2 black — an infamous propaganda album by former Information minister Jonathan Moyo released two years ago.”
Power Cuts is one of a series of nine paintings showing the progression of how an individual trapped in a pitch black room owing to power outages lights up a match to bring light into the
room. In essence, the painting offers a ray of hope as it seeks to assure the populace that despite insurmountable hardships in their lives, sooner or later they will, like the proverbial phoenix, rise from the ashes.
Kotze said his greatest challenge as a painter is to continue re-inventing himself while thriving to make his work timeless.
“The greatest challenge I’m facing is coming up with a relevant artistic concept,” said Kotze. “The concept needs to be timeless work which will remain a cherished treasure for years to come.”
Kotze is set to leave for Portugal and the United Kingdom on a work-related business tour next month.