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Time in between Patrick Mumba’s art

LETTER from my son (Journey by Bus).

Art Yak with CHANDA MWENYA
ARTIST Patrick Mumba has ended his conspicuous absence from the Zambian art scene with a solo exhibition dubbed “Time in

between” at Chaminuka Wildlife Resort on the outskirt of Lusaka.
Patrick who opened his show a fortnight ago at the venue that boasts of the country’s biggest private art collection, has been working around this theme of “Time” for quite some time now.
In his 2015 exhibition held in South Africa during his art studies, he outlined that “Time in Between” questions how certain abstractions engage with the relative notion of time and how this links to the processes of ageing and decaying in life.
In that exhibition, Patrick narrowed his attention on the despoiling of the Zambian landscape by the copper mining industry.
The thought-provoking works formed part of his fine art studies which he recently finished at Rhodes University in South Africa.
Patrick says highlighting the despoiling of the Zambian landscape by the copper mining industry driven by colonial greed is inspired by his personal experience on the Copperbelt.
“Life is always a temporary situation, an idea which I develop as Time in Between, the beginning and the ending and the young and the aged, the new and the old,” he says.
“In my practice, I break down these dichotomies, questioning how abstractions engage with the relative notion of time and how this links to the process of ageing and decaying and how it affects our life span.
“My practice is not only concerned with the aesthetics of the work, but I consider as important, translating each specific theme into the formal qualities of abstraction.”
I have been acquainted with the Patrick’s body of works from his graduate days from Slade School of Fine Art in London to his  contemporary days as a graduate of South African Rhodes University with a Master’s thesis dubbed ‘Abstract Art and the Contested Ground of African Modernisms’.
Perhaps, like his own theme suggests, Patrick’s body of work has transformed between the times.
But, the series of his naïve and child-like paintings intrigues me the most.
Patrick has a rare ability to paint like a child, an ability which most artists don’t possess.
With his unusual ability to paint like child, Patrick has somewhat challenged Spanish artist Pablo Picasso who once said: “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”
A classic example of Patrick’s naïve painting is the “Letter from my Son (Journey by Bus)” in which he paints a bus complete with passengers.
It is a simple geometric composition that defies the rules of proportion of human anatomy and the elevation and perspective in isometric drawing. The painting reflects ultimate freedom of the artist. The work is a kind of drawing you would find pasted on the kitchen fridge in some suburban apartment, but Patrick creates them for the main stream art gallery.
Patrick’s exhibition at Chaminuka Wildlife Resort can also be seen as home coming show.
Chaminuka has collected some important works of his career. The foyer at the main entrance of the facility at Chaminuka has chronicled Patrick’s works from the early 1990’s to his most recent paintings.
On your next visit to Chaminuka Resort, you will be able to see how Patrick’s creative pedigree has evolved between the time.
Patrick is among the Zambian artists with the ability and credentials that will assist to harness the country’s creativity industry
artyak@rocketmail.com

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