IN a clear case of disapproval, visual arts students from the Zimbabwe Institute of Visual Arts (Ziva) recently produced stinging work against government’s infamous slum clearance blitz O
peration Murambatsvina/ Restore Order.
The damning presentations were on display at Ziva’s graduation ceremony held a fortnight ago at the City Bowling Club in the capital. Fifteen students were awarded with diplomas for completing the institute’s two year visual arts programme.
Of the displays viewed by guests at the ceremony, four presentations from four artists emerged head and shoulders above the rest owing to their powerful political connotations told through sheer graphic design prowess.
The visual pictures which included Clean Up? by Thomas Mwasangwale and A New Beginning by Michelle Motsi together with Operation Sunga Zvinhu (lock it) and Warning presented by Fadzayi Chiwandire and Kundai Hove respectively speak volumes about the devastation and suffering inflicted on the people by the operation.
One of the artists who declined to be named expressed grave concern over the plight of those affected describing government’s so-called urban renewal which left a swathe of destruction on its trail as horrendous.
“As artists we are society’s mirror,” said the artist.
“It is incumbent upon us to reflect reality and matters affecting humanity through our work.
“Transgressions committed by the state while undertaking this mad operation amount to an atrocity and are unforgivable as Zimbabweans have been reduced to paupers after working so hard to improve their lives.”
The visual displays complement each other in communicating the fate and dark cloud cast upon by Murambatsvina.
The displays left people attending the graduation ceremony overwhelmed with grief as they painted a vivid picture of what transpired during the crackdown. UN envoy, Anna Tibaijuka produced a damning report following her fact-finding mission which states that 700 000 people were rendered homeless and robbed of their source of livelihood.
Warning warns against playing Russian roulette with people’s life, which it argues cannot be recycled like waste.
Operation Sunga Zvinhu through the metal lock talks about how the state made life difficult for ordinary Zimbabweans by undertaking the operation.