By Andrew Mulenga
The stART Foundation and 37d Gallery in Lusaka presents a sizeable body of new work by a Lusaka-based duo David Makala and Natasha Evans in what is expected to be a stimulating exhibition entitled Metamorphosis.
|'Cupid' Acrylic & mixed media on canvas, 154 x 129cm|
by David Makala (Courtesy: 37d Gallery)
Set for 17:30, Friday 26 September at 37d Middle Way in Kabulonga, the show is expected to start with all the frills that have become a staple at the gallery’s openings such as free-flowing champagne, delightful Yorkshire pudding Hors d'oeuvre and dazzling pageant-grade ushers who will not only pour your glass of wine but gladly place your reservation on a painting or two.
But no need for excitement if you have not yet got an invitation, it means you did not make the select list of prospective buyers. The gallery maintains a no-time-wasters stance perhaps on the grounds that it is on private property, or to put it accurately, in someone’s home.
Nevertheless, according to the gallery, the works on display “will be based largely on the conceptual aspects of the individual themes they (Makala and Evans) have been working on, realised in an installation style of works.”
There is no telling how the installation by both artists will play with scale and spatial perspective in the gallery but of course this will be an aspect of the show that should be expected to provide a theatrical angle to the event.
According to the exhibition statement Makala’s focus “will be a conceptual one, exploring the theme of Metamorphosis using elements of light and texture.”
|'Echoes' by Natasha Evans. Acrylic |
& mixed media on paper (Courtesy: 37d Gallery)
“ His surfaces combine acrylic paint applied in a ‘staining’ technique, often enhanced with embedded objects, and mounted on a textured surface,” continues the statement in part “It is his personal metaphor for one’s ever changing state of being; with surfaces and patterns, design and the aesthetic which are all constantly evolving into something new, different and unknown.”
Perhaps true to the term metamorphosis itself, Makala has changed; he has come of age as an artist. His recent works clearly reflect an energetic aura of maturity and focus, you can tell that he has been working hard and putting in his best, one thing that is now clear is that he has made up his mind to be nothing but a professional. His tenor too has clearly developed a world class contemporary edge to it; no doubt he has been doing a great deal of research.
The 30-year-old has been at it for just over 7 years now, shaped through several of Mulenga Chafilwa’s youth oriented ‘August Studio’ workshops at the Visual Arts Council (VAC), he has been a regular at the Art Academy Without Walls, passed through art patron Alexis Phiri’s Kachere Studios, before breaking away with other radical young artists such as the Phiri Brothers Tom and Bisa to co-found ‘Roots of Expression’ with Paris-Based Zimbabwean sculptor Agnew Masango. Between 2008 and 2010 he studied under Evelyn Hone College lecturer and seasoned artist Alex Nkazi attending a two and a half year apprenticeship programme and has also been mentored by painter Stary Mwaba who is currently attending a 2014- 2015 residency at Kunstlerhaus Bethanien in Germany.
|'Hunting' Acrylic & mixed media on canvas, 154 x 129cm|
by David Makala (Courtesy:37d Gallery)
While Evans too explores ‘light and dark’ as a central concept the exhibition statement declares “She returns to discussions of balance and how proportions of ‘dark and light’, of hope and failings of human thought, can be identified in ourselves.”
“Her work is very much about process and so her images evolve by being built up, taken apart, erased and painted over. The use of the colour gold is suggestive as its symbolic quality lends itself to the idea of value, luminosity and contrast,” it reads further.
According to her personal statement she “tries to maintain a balance between strength in aesthetic appeal and concept. She likes to combine drawing and painting skill with less used processes and techniques to create interesting texture and to add interest and question about creative processes and the different ways of making pictures.”
|'Nostalgia' by Natasha Evans. Light installation|
Most recently Evans has started to explore the concepts of boundaries and borders and the crossing over these and has used compositions of imagery, line, and paint as metaphor to depict the movement ideas or stories.”
Evans also dabbles in functional art and she enjoys creating one off lamp shades. Her hand does have a strong commanded of tint and shade usage and her heightened level of conceptualism may be a clear reflection of her European training having studied at the Arts Institute at Bournemouth, England where she was awarded a BA with Honours First Class Degree in Illustration in 2005.
Between 2009 and 2013 she has exhibited in the Musikili Arts Exhibition, the Art & Design Show Lusaka, AISL Art Gallery, and the Art for Wildlife Exhibition as well as a 2010 solo at the Red Dot Gallery, Lusaka. In 2009 she won an International Street Paper Award, in Norway for Best Cover, Big Issue Zambia and in 2011 she was awarded the David Shepherd 1st Prize for Mixed Media Painting.
Although she was born in Zimbabwe, both her parents were born in Zambia she too has lived here since she was 8 years old, besides the art keeping her busy, she is said to be happily raising four small children.
|'Usual Spot' Acrylic & mixed media on canvas, 154 x 129cm||by David Makala|