Zimbabwe: Visual artist’s new works once again pulled down

Bulawayo-based visual artist, Owen Maseko, has drawn attention from authorities when one of his new displays was pulled down on 30 October 2015 – less than a day after it was unveiled in his ‘Kwacha’ exhibition, reported Bulawayo24 News.

In the video below, one can see authorities moving the sculpture from the art gallery and getting ready to load it onto a truck:

‘How Maseko’s display was pulled down’
Published on youtube.com on 30 October 2015

According to one of the attendees of the recent exhibition, they were given chalk to write their “interpretations of the work on the black surface”, which were mostly “sexual” and is what the person believes caused the “discomfort”, they told the tv channel.

In an interview with New Zimbabwe, Maseko said “the pieces were not about nudity, but it was a human figure that tried to depict that both males and females are both equal”.

Maseko’s recent trouble comes on the heels of a Supreme Court order issued earlier this year in September for Maseko to pull down his Gukurahundi installations that were banned five years ago from the same Bulawayo Art Gallery, reported New Zimbabwe.

These paintings were part of a series entitled ‘Sibathontisele’ (Let’s Drip on Them) that depicted torture and massacres in the 1980s known as Gukuranhundi. In March 2010 that exhibition landed Maseko in prison for six days less than 24 hours after it was unveiled.

Only one week earlier, a Freemuse-organised workshop group meeting in Harare determined that the country should abolish the censorship board and other censoring or regulating bodies on artistic expression as it no longer complies with Zimbabwe’s new constitution. These findings were qualified for the upcoming Universal Periodic Review that will be submitted to the United Nations Human Rights Council as part of the UN system’s official mechanism for reviewing all member states’ human rights records.

Freemuse supported and attended the artsfreedom workshop, which was locally organised by Nhimbe Trust and Arterial Network held on 23-24 October 2015.


» New Zimbabwe – 31 October 2015:
Bulawayo art gallery pulls down another Maseko exhibition

» Bulawayo 24 – 30 October 2015:
Visual artist ‘Maseko’ in trouble again

Related information:

» Artsfreedom.org – 27 October 2015:
Zimbabwe: Censorship board should be abolished, says workshop group

Freemuse coverage of Maseko’s previous incidents:

» Artsfreedom.org – 7 January 2014:
Zimbabwe: Banned playwright and visual artist isolated

» Artsfreedom.org – 22 December 2013:
Zimbabwe: Constitutional court ruling in favour of artistic freedom of expression

» Artsfreedom.org – 31 October 2013:
Zimbabwe: Visual artist challenges charges of insulting president

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