Mostaff Muchawaya

Mostaff Muchawaya was born in Nyazura, Manicaland, Zimbabwe. Having studied at the National Gallery School of Visual Art and Design from 2002 to 2003, he now lives and works in Harare.

Through the medium of paint, Muchawaya creates multi-layered portraits of people drawn from memories of his upbringing in the mountainous Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe. Once dry, each generous application of paint is then scraped in parts or removed from the canvas. Household cleaning agents and paint chips from derelict walls are also used to give the impression of erosion. This cycle continues until each portrait begins to reflect the shifting and uncontrollable nature of memory itself, where the processes of remembering and forgetting converge to form abstract impressions of those closest to him.

In <Untitled> and <Tinatsei> (2017) the artist creates additional layers by using paint chips and other eroding objects from his studio. While some figures are more recognisable than others, these works reflect a general mood, perhaps even a frustration with the processes of forgetting and a desire to remember.

Mostaff Muchawaya has exhibited in several group exhibitions at Village Unhu and Amanzi. Exhibitions include ‘Memory / Ndangariro’, a solo exhibition at SMAC Gallery in Cape Town (South Africa: 2017); ‘Landmark’ at Gallery Delta in Harare (Zimbabwe: 2016); ‘Mharidzo’ and ‘Zimbabwe Meets Italy’ at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe in Harare (Zimbabwe: 2015 and 2018, respectively); and ‘My Entire People and Places,’ a solo exhibition at Alliance Francaise in Harare that was held in collaboration with Village Unhu (Zimbabwe: 2013).

Mostaff Muchawaya works are featured in the Zeitz MOCAA exhibition, Five Bhobh – Painting at the End of an Era (2018 – 2019).