BY STYLE CORRESPONDENT
MULTI-AWARD-WINNING visual artist Forbes Mushipe has described his new body of artistic works as an attempt to talk to God, appealing for His intervention in preservation of nature.
Mushipe is working on over 10 new contemporary paintings on nature, under the theme Nature Restoration.
He said his work is inspired by God’s violated plan for man to sustainably manage nature when He assigned him to take dominion over the forest and its habitants as opposed to destroying them.
“Unlike other African countries that have strong working policies and legal frame-works that protect wildlife and nature, Zimbabwe seems to be turning a blind eye, owing to personal interests of lining pockets,” Mushipe told Standard Style.
“In the media, you hardly go for a week without getting a report about poachers walking free at the courts. I do not condemn our justice system, but as an artist, I observe and interpret my thoughts.
“Fortunately enough, no one can arrest me for asking myself where the game rangers and national parks people are. Again these questions do not get responses when kept in my mind so I transfer them onto the canvas.”
The artist explained that some places would have been better if they were reserved for animals.
“I am greatly saddened by the retrogressive development that liberated mankind, allowing them to build houses in areas reserved for wildlife,” he said.
“On several occasions, I have seen illegal gold panners destroying the environment leaving behind open pits that pose a danger to wildlife and mankind alike.
“Let’s attach importance to the value of the forest and what it provides. Many times people are arrested for improper wearing of face masks yet ivory traffickers are freed.”
According to Mushipe, advocating for animal protection has not been a common tradition among black Africans and this has seen the continent losing billions of dollards in revenue annually.
“I am yet to see a black African businessman owning a game park. Apart from national reserves we collectively own, there is literally nothing. I wonder why it is like this,” he said.
“By nature, a young white child is seen admiring and caressing a monkey or chameleon, but our own kids in the township when they come across a monkey, a lizard or a snake they start pelting it with stones to kill the creature.
“We are corrupted at a tender age. We lose this love for nature when we are very young.”
Mushipe, who is also the creative director at Forbes Mushipe Mentorship Visual Arts Programme, challenged locals to take pride in nature.
“Human beings are at the forefront of animal abuse. They wantonly kill these animals for rituals and these are the same people transmitting disease between humans and animals,” he said.
The Forbes Mushipe Mentorship Visual Arts Programme is supported by the European Union, Culture Fund and Creative Commons.
Mushipe rose to fame through his abstract award-winning sculptures, namely Barika (2011), Melodies from the Mermaid (2012) and Nhapwasikana (2013) that intelligently exploited on gender-related issues.