Victor Mavedzenge Portraits
Victor Mavedzenge was born in Zimbabwe.
He studied fine art at The Slade School of fine Art in 2008-2010 where he earned his Masters of Fine Arts degree.
He currently lives and works in Oakland California.
I am foremost a painter, and consider drawing and painting to be a foundation of visual art. I also work in mixed media, performance and new media. I come from Zimbabwe, a socially and politically charged country. My work engages the philosophical idea of ?the human condition?, with respect to individuals and as part of a larger whole, e.g. a community or country. In particular my work explores how the human condition is influenced by censorship and oppression in their various forms. Personally affected by the political, economic and social mismanagement of my home country, I have worked by necessity in an abstract style which is intentionally ambiguous yet deeply expressive.
The material I use for my work is typically derived from the environment in which I live, be it the physical environment (Flags Of Our Fathers - assemblage from discarded material on the streets of London), the socio-political environment (Waiting For a Miracle - inspired by the long queues caused by commodity shortages in Zimbabwe), or current events (Run, Hide, Blend - inspired by the illegal immigration in the UK). Upon acquiring my ?green card? and moving to the United States in 2011, my artistic process became more introspective due to feelings of displacement, and challenged by adaptation to a new culture. Hope is a more recent work made of acrylic and coffee grounds on canvas. I regularly revisit the notion of hope in political and social frameworks, and from the perspective of both an insider and an outsider. Coffee grounds add texture to this piece, and also allude to notions that both represent and contradict the idea of hope, including awakening, the ?daily grind?, and an element that is used and discarded daily.
The different mediums in which I work are synergistic, influencing each other and working together. This creates fluidity to in my work, and leads to a constant renewal/rebirth of a structure or theme. In my culture, in asking someone how they are doing, the response is, ?I?m ok if you are ok.? This reflects how individuals function within a community. A similar fluidity and synergy of both artistic mediums and subject matter is echoed in my work.
As I have acclimated to my new surroundings in the United States, and with the birth of my daughter in 2012, my work continues to evolve. While I maintain the theme of the human condition, the environmental and community influences, and my evolving interpretation of this theme, continue to develop. My painting, which remains the foundation of my work, is increasingly accommodating automatism. I continue to use mixed media in my approach to create a stronger connection and dialogue with the community I am a part of. I am beginning to revisit my early training in performance art, as a format to express and interpret my interest in community, society, politics, and my new role as a member of the African diaspora. To that end, I have brought performance art into the community through the founding of a monthly poetry slam with underprivileged youth. Performance art is an area which will be instrumental in the further development of my work as it lends itself to vital discussion and is therefore a great medium for thematic development and exploration of the rebirth/renewal process, a fundamental aspect of the human condition.”