Utalagu Exhibition by Durban Artists Amasosha

THE refreshing collective of nearly twenty artist from KwaZulu-Natal known as Amasosha Art Movement presents an exhibition titled ‘Utalagu’ on the 29th of November 2019. The Exhibition takes place at their new home Ikomkhulu Art Space, situated in Durban’s creative hub of Morningside.

Amasosha, literally meaning ‘soldier’ in isiZulu, is a term the artists use to describe themselves, as they strive to “evoke qualities found in soldiers: self-reliance; hard work; bravery; unity and front-line combat (amongst others). As well as the sense of being on a mission,” says Mthobisi Maphumulo, who is a founding member of the movement.

Their latest exhibition is a reflection of how artists push boundaries to bring the illusions in their minds into physical existence. ‘Utalagu’ in isiZulu suggests something that appears to the observer as something that it is not, or something that does not physically exist. This the artists interpret as an optical illusion, and explore the refractive possibilities produced by bending light.

Artwork by Andile Maphumulo, a member of the art collective.

“It is a futuristic journey in quest for answers. It is also a way of discoursing with narratives that reshape and refract in ones mind in making sense of the physical world. Furthermore, it is  a journey of learning, faith and finding courage in the pursuit of mirage ideas until they become real to reshape our thinking,” says Maphumulo. He sees their search for answers about life through the medium of art, as a mystical way of rewriting history and “questioning, celebrating, challenging the construction of our culture in the Modern space.”

It is indeed true that art exists in particular social and class position in our contemporary society. This position can be considered elite, as it is not our people in the townships and rural areas who are given the opportunity to observe artworks in galleries. (And in talking about ‘observing’ I mean more than people just bussed-in for an occasion, but I mean the habitation of the art-space as a site for meditation, and recalibration, as one tries, in their own mind, to grapple with the optical illusions of the fast-pace global world of today.) But it is also true that art and visual forms of storytelling have a long history on the African continent. The history precedes even the modern world (whose achievements are often associated with Europe).

Maphumulo says that some of “the inspiration of our ideas comes from that content. It is drawn on mystical African concept because all of us in the collective comes from African communities.” The audience will enjoy the techniques that Amasosha is exploring and appreciate the long hours the artist have devoted in making their artworks.

Guitar sensation, Madala Kunene, who will be performing at the Exhibition opening.

The exhibition also involves music rendition from KwaZulu-Natal guitar-music icon, Madala Kunene. Kickoff time is 6pm and for further information: amasoshaartmovement@gmail.com(0718023738).§

staff writer