Michele Mathison’s African Art




I viewed Michele Mathison wonderful art this month at the Tyburn Gallery in London. Mathison’s work reflects by his own migratory experience, he was born in Zimbabwe, grew up in South Africa and  lived in London for sometime before returning back to South Africa. His art weaves through his own cultural, political and social observations.

Mathison impressively captures the history of the Zimbabwean birds. The solid, erect and imposing birds stand out as one walks in the Tyburn Gallery. The  birds were of significant importance to Great Zimbabwe ruins. They were constructed from granite blocks and to this day still stand towering tall over the Great Zimbabwe ruins, capturing the history of the Shona people.

In the ‘Plot’ theme, Mathison draws us into a conversation of art through a marvellous field of maize, the nation’s staple food which are a regular sight across the country. Strategically placed, the metal pieces of individual maize make for an imaginary field. The viewer is drawn into the field which reveals the struggle for life, land and migration in the continent.



In the The ‘Lost Ground’ the artist reflects on labour and resilience evident in laboring communities. The wide cast gypsum reveals markings made the tools such as ‘badza’ hoe and shavels. The red earth  strongly reminded me of the red fertile soils  I have seen in Uganda and Tanzania. One is mesmerised and at times lost in thoughts in visualizing the labourers who work so many hours often just to get to the next meal.

I was throughly impressed by Michele Mathison’s work, the artists captures the history and the daily challenges of the people well and the issues are as relevant today as they were many years ago.

The Tyburn Gallery features work by African artists and I think I have found a new home.


The gallery is located on
St. Christopher’s Place
in Marylebone.

Dorcas Gwata, Director of Tribal Sands

April 2016


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