Masoud Kibwana’s recent exhibition at Nafasi Art Space in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania transcended culture as it explored globally shared experiences.
The entry piece, balanced on an easel, featured a mixed media on canvas navy globe. Forearms and hands of varying skin tone reached from the edge of the canvas to grasp the orb. Unified by a geometric Henna-like sketch on the wrist, each reach felt like the extension of a family. The image conjured thoughts of Michael Jackson and a hum of Heal the World and is fittingly titled Save the World.
On an adjacent wall, a work titled Identify merged cubism with Kibwana’s mixed media style. Left of center a shadowy female figure, nearly featureless, looked toward the viewer. Silhouetted by layered duplicates of herself in orange, sunshine and olive she dared the viewer to consider all possibilities of identity and purpose.
A similarly styled mixed media and cubism piece featured a male figure staring directly at the viewer. From his mouth flew torn bits of newspaper. A secondary figure framed in a collared shirt and tie whispered into the ear of the male shouting the news. Titled Breaking News, it evoked the shouting newsies of a bygone era and the endless streaming of the 24/7 news cycle simultaneously. The seemingly active subject matter challenged the viewer’s urge to cover her ears as if sound might explode from behind the work.
The shocker of the exhibition was hidden around the final corner of the space and represented Kibwana’s artistic range. The acrylic on canvas piece, titled The King of the Jungle, featured a 150cm by 120cm lion portrait. Its confident presence left visitors wanting more from Kibwana and wondering what he will deliver next.