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Many Rivers to Cross - Oval House Gallery

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

AN EXHIBITION of posters, cartoons and paintings from Zimbabwe, Many Rivers to Cross, will be on display in the Oval House Gallery from September 30 to October 25, 2008.

The exhibition brings together diverse work from some of the country’s talented artists, turning the spotlight on current conditions in which people are suffering, physically and emotionally, in their struggle for human rights and day-to-day survival.

The exhibition title comes from a poster by Chaz Maviyane-Davies, an award-winning graphic designer renowned for his potent combination of image and word. Behind every death…, If you think you are too small…, and Article 21 Everyone has the right to vote… are among the striking works he has created for opposition election campaigns and the ongoing battle for a culture of tolerance, freedom and social justice.

Zimbabwe’s foremost editorial cartoonist Tony Namate, who has walked a tightrope since the 1980s, continues, with wit and compassion, to expose the social impact of political tyranny. The exhibition features recent cartoons and drawings from Operation Murambatsvina (Drive out the Trash), Mugabe’s vicious 2005 ‘urban reform’ programme.

Kudzanai Chiurai, who early on attracted the wrath of the regime with his depiction of flaming Mugabe heads, deals with socio-political issues, including exile and xenophobia, in his works on paper.

Expressive colour and bold brushwork define the paintings of Misheck Masamvu, a strong young artist whose concentrated images probe the psychological state of the nation and the effects of repression and violence.

Paintings by Victor Mavedzenge, Brain Mupoperi, Richard Witikani and others provide insight into the resilience of Zimbabweans in their daily existence in urban and rural environments.

Zimbabweans everywhere are under stress. The millions in exile long to go home; those at home are desperate for a reasonable way of living, basic human rights, and an end to violence and fear. Many Rivers to Cross seeks to widen and deepen understanding of Zimbabwe’s people and the current turmoil.

The exhibition is curated by Barbara Murray.

Admission: Free.

Times: Tuesday to Saturday from 3pm to 10pm.

Oval House Theatre, 52-54 Kennington Oval, London, SE11 5SW.

Telephone: 020 7582 0080