Michele Mathison (South Africa/Zimbabwe)
Raphael Chikukwa (Zimbabwe), Curator at Large of Painting and Sculpture, Zeitz MOCAA
This exhibition includes all the Harvest installations by Michele Mathison created for the Dudziro exhibition at the Zimbabwe Pavilion at the 55thÂ Venice Biennale (2013). These installations were acquired the same year to keep them intact and preserve them for the people of Africa.
Â Mathison’s work interrogates humanity’s dependence on land and traditions of crop cultivation; the value of labour; how symbols of labour become political tools; and the ways in which we embed spiritual significance in nature.
Why does Mathison echo the intense physical labour required by land cultivation through the process of making sculpture? Why would an artist recreate trees out of the burnt remnants of other trees? What purpose do 1,200 ceramic mielies serve if unable to provide actual nourishment? Why do we violate the very thing we depend on for our survival?