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NEWSLETTER Nos artistes à la Une

Week #4: Epheas Maposa


Propos recueillis le 11 mai 2020
1 - Epheas, you are in Harare right now, confined in your family house. Let us know how things are doing in Harare? Life keeps going? Or is everything stopped ?

Life in Harare is a hand to mouth situation, on different social levels there’s an absolute gap between comfort and survival these factors derive from the everyday life and conversations holding families together with a firm piece of mind. I insure such experiences and uncertainties as a platform of opportunity for communal practices and my artistic growth.
2 – Epheas, you are 26. Can you tell us more about your background and artistic formation ? How did you start to paint ? 

I was born in Marondera a small town a few kilometers out of Harare, after my birth my family moved back in the capital Harare were my father worked as a Railway plate layer. In my infancy we moved to new locations as my father was assigned to different working station. The fascination that came with the new surroundings and new faces drove me to draw and depict the different spaces on paper and any surface that could hold a drawn pencil or charcoal line, sometimes going in the middle of the busy urban streets and drawing landscapes and figures that reoccurred in my mind as a means to archive my childhood memories.
3 - Where is your studio in Harare ? Is it important to be part of a collective (Village Unhu) as an artist in Zimbabwe ? 

Village Unhu as a collective we have moved and worked in different locations for the past eight years. Currently located in the center of the capital Harare at the middle of a vibrant art scene, Village Unhu collective still holds its ground through the years as an interactive community of aspiring artist tackling working challenges with a common vision by producing through self discovery an authentic reinterpretation of the communal and global contemporary changes.
4 - Let’s talk more precisely about your work. If you had 3 words and only 3 words to describe it, wich ones? 

Caculated chance and redefined consciousness 
5 – What are your main sources of inspiration ? 

I’m inspired with the idea of discovery and the constantly changing personae as a way of spiritual and mental growth 
6 – You told us that your painting was a mix between impressionism and surrealism ? Why did you decide to work from there ? 

Both approaches differ and also compliment each other greatly in creating a visual balance. In my practice I’ve uncovered a sense of restricted freedom which allows the viewer’s eye to manoeuvre throughout the canvas and to collect the varied technical information into a single perspective.
7 – As a viewer, when I watch your paintings, I feel you want to tell a story. Do you define yourself as a storyteller ? 

I define myself not merely just a storyteller but i try to do it in a revised way. I'm telling these stories in a version were it takes any shape or form toward the audience.
8 – Two things are obvious when we try to define your work : the use of color and the construction of space? Can you tell us more ? 

Despite the given subject, my composition strongly regards the illusion of an environment. It may for example be a figure standing in the midst of a dark night or a pitch black room. Underneath the blackness of such a composition there is depth and form, movements and perspective. The different colors layered underneath offer the perception of space and distance surrounding the figure.
9 – Colors and space seems to be the tools to put the human body in the middle of your composition. This is a universal body between human and animal, always suffering, distorted, twisted. Why ? 

The connection between the human and animistic bodies is a point of measure and means to understand what could’ve been possible and also to resolve questions of survival, traditional stories and myths that co-exist with us as a human race throughout the ages. In my work I disembody and reassemble these bodies to set the notion of rediscovering and questioning the universal balance as a whole.
10 – Recently you are working on new serie of portraits and seem to focus your attention on faces. Can you tell us more ? How did you start to work on portraits ? 

With portraiture I’m studying to reveal what’s underneath a facial expression. I believe a face is like a lifelong diary it records all the emotions it has ever expressed throughout its life in the details it reveals, plain or hidden.
11 - Thank you Epheas, a last thing to say to our readers ?

Thoughts come to mind to be expressed, there is no taboo. 

À propos de l'oeuvre

Epheas Maposa est né en 1994 au Zimbabwe. Il vit et travaille à Harare.

Le corps et le récit sont au centre du travail d’Epheas Maposa : des corps mi-homme, mi- animal, aux lignes très marquées, évoluant dans des univers surréalistes et baroques. Chaque œuvre livre une narration sur le fil, mêlant dans une veine onirique assumée, détails dessinés et motifs coloristes. Narrateur prolifique, il utilise la distorsion des corps et des espaces pour créer des contes désabusés témoignant de la déliquescence de la structure sociale et politique au Zimbabwe.


Epheas Maposa est autodidacte. Dessinant dans la rue, sa première source d’inspiration, il est entré au sein de Village Unhu en 2013 ou il a pu bénéficier d’espaces et de matériel pour travailler et faire évoluer sa pratique aux côtés des autres artistes du collectif. Dès 2014 il expose à la National gallery of Zimbabwe, ainsi qu’à la Delta Gallery. Il participe en 2017, 2018 et 2020 à la FNB Joburg art fair et Investec Cape Town art fair. Il a également pris part à plusieurs programmes de résidences entre Johannesburg et Harare. En 2019, il reçoit le deuxième prix Emerging painting pan African art prize.

À propos de l'oeuvre

Par Candice Allison


« (…) Des influences de Francisco Goya et Théodore Géricault se retrouvent dans l'œuvre de Maposa à travers le traitement de ces figures troublantes, le visage lasse et tendu, la tête basse. Epheas Maposa est le plus jeune de ces trois artistes, né en 1994, trois ans à peine avant que l'économie zimbabwéenne ne s’écroule et que le dollar zimbabwéen perde 71,5% de sa valeur par rapport au dollar américain. Maposa n'a jamais connu qu'un Zimbabwe fatigué, découragé d'attendre la pluie - comme le titre du livre du même nom, écrit en 1975 par Charles Mungoshi. »  


« (…) Les artistes abordent la représentation du corps humain comme un corps hybride, à la fois empêtré et disloqué par le contexte social et politique du Zimbabwe.Le corps zimbabwéen est un lieu de mémoire coloniale et le terrain de violences - passées, présentes et futures. C'est un lieu de résistance, de lutte et de résilience. C'est un corps normé, un corps trahi par ses leaders. Il s'agit d'un corps de migrants, d'une marchandise, d’une main-d'œuvre bon marché, contrainte, d’un corps déplacé puis rapatrié. Spirituellement, c'est un corps pieux qui se nourrit du corps du Christ ; un corps hybride et ancien, inextricablement lié aux totems Shona utilisés culturellement depuis les origines pour identifier les différents clans, chacun associé à un animal - tels que Shato/Mheta (python), Mbizi/Tembo (zèbre), Shumba (lion), Soko (singe), Nzou (éléphant), et Ngwena (crocodile) - ou une partie du corps comme Gumbo (jambe), Moyo (cœur) et Bepe (poumon). »

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