Working predominantly as a painter and sculptor, Misheck Masamvu describes his works as “mutants” which oscillate between abstraction and figuration. Masamvu’s practice is a battle against the forced ideology of government and the breakdown of the pursuit of humanity. His works are understood as marks of existence, pointing not only to the realities of his lived experienced but also to mental and psychological space, where each layer of paint, or brush stroke on the canvas proposes a search to resolve conflicted experiences or decisions
Masamvu (b. 1980, Penhalonga, Zimbabwe) was born in the year that Zimbabwe gained independence from the United Kingdom.
Masamvu began his art education in the late 1990s at Atilier Delta, an important venue in Harare, where he participated in a workshop led by Helen Lieors, which proved to be formative. In the mid 2000s, he gained a scholarship to study under Prof. Jerry Zeniuk at The Kunst Akademie in Munich.
Having co-founded the Harare-based project space and residency programme Village Unhu alongside fellow artists Georgina Maxim and Gareth Nyandoro in 2011, Masamvu continues to play an important role in mentoring the next generation of artists in his home country.
Masamvu’s work has been exhibited around the world. In 2020 his large-scale paintings were included in the 22nd Sydney Biennale, titled NIRIN, as a solo presentation at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, curated by Brook Andrew. In 2016, Masamvu’s work was included on the 32nd Bienal de São Paulo and, in 2011, he made his international debut by representing his country at Zimbabwe’s inaugural Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale.
Major group exhibitions include Witness: Afro Perspectives from the Jorge M. Pérez Collection, a group exhibition at El Espacio 23, and Allied with Power at the Pérez Art Museum in Miami, as well as Five Bobh: Painting at the End of an Era (2017) at Zeitz MOCAA in Cape Town, Africa 2.0 > is there a Contemporary African art? (2010) at Influx Contemporary Art in Lisbon, Art, Migration and Identity (2008) at Africa Museum CBK in Arnhem (Netherlands) and 696 (2008) at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe in Harare.
The artist’s work can be found in prominent international collections, which include: A4 Arts Foundation (Cape Town, South Africa), Braunsfelder Family Collection (Cologne, Germany), Fundacion Yannick y Ben Jakober (Mallorca, Spain), Pérez Art Museum (Miami, United States), Sovereign Art Foundation (Jakarta, Indonesia), the United States National Embassies Permanent Collection (Washington DC, United States), X Museum (Beijing, China) and Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Cape Town, South Africa).