Around Christmas Time in 2018 I had an eye opening experience in Masvingo, Zimbabwe the tribal lands from my paternal side. I usually don’t take notice of whatever is sold or displayed on the road side but since there where fuel shortages in the country, we had to queue and basically spend more time than we would wish on the highway.
It was on one of those lengthy stops that I came across some beautiful Artworks and curios by the roadside. I was drawn to a lovely sculpture of the mythical Nyami Nyami snake that’s said to roam the Zambezi. It was carved on a huge tree stump and invoked a sense of awe and pride in the craftsmanship.
I thought to myself, “damn, this is some really good art that is wasting away on the highway instead of gracing the display of a majestic gallery or mansion.”
I thought to myself, “damn, this is some really good art that is wasting away on the highway instead of gracing the display of a majestic gallery or mansion.” I wondered who could have made such a beautiful piece, what’s their story and more importantly, did they get paid enough for their artistry? And so the seed for Mozaiks was sown.
Masvingo is the home of the legendary Great Zimbabwe Ruins and as a popular tourist destination, the highway is littered with Artworks.
Until that moment, I just assumed these were just cheap trinkets for gullible tourists to take home as souvenirs to their countries. When you’re caught up in the busyness of every day life, you quickly forget to appreciate the aesthetics that surround you.
That beautiful sculpture however, was a paradigm shift of sorts that inspired me to set up an online store for African Art. It is my sincere hope that local Artists and their work can be appreciated and enjoyed on a global stage.
We’ve been conditioned to believe in the lie that great art is the standard that’s exhibited in the Louvre or that Da Vinci and Michaelangelo are the epitome of human expression.
Nothing can be further from the truth as art is the very basis of humanity. Without music and the arts, our lives would be very mundane. When a civilisation dies, their art immortalises them, thousands of years after their gone. The essence of what sort of people they were are reflected in the art they leave behind.
We can only speculate on their way of life yet the unifying characteristic that draws us to their history and culture is the Art they leave behind. It’s magnetic and reminds us of our intrinsic human nature to create and be inspired by our struggles, passions and our surroundings.
Whether they are rock paintings of cavemen hunting Mammoths, or the great sphinx gazing at the majestic Pyramids of Giza or the Olmec stone sculptures in Mexico, we are all drawn to them.
As the cradle of mankind, our beautiful continent has riches that go beyond mineral wealth.
Unlike Europe which is almost artistically homogeneous, Africa is continent that spans the length of the globe.
Africa is much longer than it is wide with varying climates and conditions and so we have the greatest cultural diversity. From the sands of the Sahara down to the Cape there is so much to discover on the artistic front.
It is not a coincidence that the enigmatic Pyramids are found in Africa.
Unfortunately the things we care about most are fleeting. The money will be useless a thousand years from now. All we treasure will be junk and the only things that future generations can appreciate is our Art and cultural heritage.
The irony is that artists are the least appreciated people in African Society.
So far this has been the most gratifying business I’ve gotten into. I’ve made a lot of great connections and have learnt a lot about our Art and culture.
The instagram account for Mozaiks is popping with each post generating at least a 100 likes. Dms are always busy with inquiries and I’m confident this enterprise will turn into something remarkable with dedication and time.
This is the start of a journey, I’m not a connoisseur yet but as I learn more about this beautiful continent and its artists, I hope that perhaps, I can add richness and colour to my limited time and experience on this planet.
This is the true essence of Mozaiks African Art Store!