Misheck Masamvu

The Fruit of Life

The theme of this work is the value of a human life, and its title The Fruit of Life is to be taken ironically in reference to the dead people hanging from a tree. Mischeck Masamvu himself is explicit about his intention to pose polemic questions about whether overpopulation is a kind of pollution and whether we consider an African human life as valuable as a European one.

The work is a dense, wild explosion of colors —full of marks, expressive brush-strokes and running paint, mixed in with recognizable shapes like human outlines in various degrees of dissolution— all gathered into a single dynamic, vibrant whole.

A reclining figure lies, ribs exposed, under the big tree in the left-hand side of the work, perhaps a reference to Adam in the Garden of Eden, depicted in an obscure version: The biblical ancestor of all mankind resembles a corpse and the tree above him is filled with dead bodies. The ladder on the right hand side of the work might be the celestial ladder or the way out and away from the apparently self-destructive throng of humanity in the middle part of the image: emanating quiet grief, defiance, pain, questions and screams.

Masamvus’ optimism and hope for the future may lie in the clear, joyful colors of the work, which he uses to depict horrific human destruction on an overpopulated planet.
The work was created as part of An Age of Our Own Making, curated by Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung and Solvej Helweg Ovese, organized by Holbæk Municipal as part of IMAGES.

b. 1980 in Penhalonga, Zimbabwe, lives and works in Harare, Zimbabwe.