Herself by Mwamba Chikwemba

“HERSELF” an exhibition by our visiting resident artist Mwamba Chikwemba.
The exhibition diplays work that Mwamba has produced during her residency at Greatmore Studios. 

Exhibition Date: 14th -19th September, 2018.
Exhibition title: “HERSELF”


“HERSELF” is a story about women told by a woman. The theme of this exhibition it is to celebrate women, their tenacity in the face of gender stereotypes and their fights to find a voice of authenticity, their identity, their courage, and their sacrifices, which goes beyond social expectations and provides hope for future generations. “HERSELF” exhibition represents a body of work I have created in the last two months, as part of a series called “Nkanta” a collection inspired by African women who have power, courage and wisdom to follow their own goals. “Nkanta” is a Zambian name, which is also found in Xhosa language in South Africa, is a piece of cloth that women use to balance when carrying things on their heads.
Every new painting displays motivation for other women, calling for action, asking to raise their heads in confidence and return them to their natural female authenticity. Bringing it to the world without any fear of reprisal. These paintings stand out for their grand scale, which supports the grandeur of that collective image of a Zambian woman even more. The postures show pride and strength. The colors speak of vibrating power of female soul and the eyes share the same hardship of being a woman today in a society dominated by men.

Artist Statement

My painting style and technique is self-taught. I have a tendency to work on a rather larger format. In all my work, I try to incorporate the use of high contrast and good composition. The subject matter in itself emphasizes pride, confidence and beauty. It is usually of young women and children’s portraits. The subject being more often than not, women with smiling and happy faces, wearing head-wraps.
My main focus is to prospect “Why women wear head-wraps in Zambia (Africa)” in both historical and modern contexts. Historically, head-wraps were inflicted on black women as a symbol of enslavement. Most modern African women wear head-wraps for fashion, while for me in my work there is more to it than just a piece of cloth. The colors in my paintings speak for the vibrating power of the female soul and eyes share the same hardship of being a woman today in a patriarchal society. Therefore, the interpretation on the whole is a kind of an abstraction, rather than a realistic one, of a young woman’s position in society as a whole.
When done, my paintings often create rather bold, energetic and dramatic images. I started out painting portraits of women from the Internet and I have since moved onto doing more personal work, by focusing on creating portraits of totally familiar people. I also use my neighbours, relatives and friends to create more personal works with a deeper meaning. I constantly challenge myself, while remaining confident in my current working technique. I will keep introducing new ways and techniques of pushing this style forward and developing it even further.

Sponsored by 
:National Lotteries Commission