Port Elizabeth — Zimbabwean visual artist Zacharaha Magasa has found a new way to blow life into things that other people threw away.
By Willemien Green
Visitors to the Art in the Park market in St George’s Park, Port Elizabeth in South Africa are already familiar with Magasa’s astonishing art works.
“Growing up in the high-density suburb of Mbare, one could not help but notice dumped car frames and metal scrap all over. There are many informal mechanics and plenty of scrap yards in Mbare,” said Magasa.
“To me this was in a way an opportunity that something could be done to contribute towards cleaning the society and at the same time expanding my own career as an artist.”
“I studied fine art at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe Visual Art School where I specialised in sculpture under direct supervision of the late prominent Zimbabwean sculptor, John Gusinyu.”
“More or less three years ago, I moved to South Africa in search of a better life. I have to say that since I arrived here I have kept my head above the water, thanks to my experience of creating sculpture from scrap.”
“I get my materials from scrap yards around Sidwell while some materials are donated from well-wishers who enjoy and encourage my work.”
“A welding machine and angle grinder are the most important tools that I use to create these works; however, I also use special makeshift tools like a guillotine and hammers.”
He makes different shapes and sizes of animals and objects like cars, tractors and bicycles.
“I decide on a subject — for instance a pony — and let the material develop it into for instance a full grown horse!”
“Again and again, I discover new ways of creating the same subject that I made before, but each time it will be a completely unique piece of art.”
“To pay the bills I often take orders from people for metal furniture or gates and even then I can express myself artistically while designing it.”