US-based Malawian visual artist and writer Massa Lemu continues to produce unique work that pokes fun at Malawi’s politicians.
This is evident in the artist’s latest exhibition.
The exhibition, which is a story depicting politics in Malawi through visual arts, is taking the form of a political party launch or a rally. It features some of the major visual and audio elements found at such an event.
Titled ‘He who gave us teeth should give you art to see: a Patois Bourgeois P.arty manifesto’, the exhibition has Malawi politics written all over it.
“The party has a name, complete with an acronym-the Patois Bourgeois P.arty [PBP]; it has a slogan- ‘He who gave us teeth should give you art to see’.
It has vibrant party colours-green and orange.
“It has a recognisable symbol in the form of a chameleon; and a party cloth featuring all these elements and the portrait of the president masking his face with an academic cap. The chameleon is the untrustworthy politician who is ready to change colours to suit him/herself. Even the party president can ditch his/her own party and what it all stands for any time, with no remorse,” he said.
There are also zithumwa (charms) attached to the visual artworks purportedly to depict the use of charms to secure votes in Malawi politics.
The exhibition is spiced up by gule wamkulu songs, a typical scene during political rallies in Malawi.
Said Lemu: “So, I have been watching the elections campaign from afar and feeling like I am missing out on the entertainment. During elections campaign season there is always imagination, creativity and a great deal of productivity.
He says making an art work in the form of a political party is a way of challenging his limits and breaking the boundaries of what art should be.”
Writing on Facebook, Steven Bwanali described Lemu’s artwork as spectacular and creative in its own class while Joel Suzi said he is already looking forward to the party convention by saying: “ku Kolovenshoni tikapopana magazi ndithu.”
In 2016, Lemu held a series of conceptual arts through images that generally questioned elitisms especially among blacks.n