Mapondera examines how people create their exits from poverty and hardship, using their creativity to invent short-cuts and back doors to get them out of challenging circumstances. He questions the way in which oppressive conditions become the new normal, exploring the routes people take in escaping them. Works on show will include a series of intricate wall hangings created by distressing and manipulating textiles, adding elements such as collage, waxed cotton thread, cardboard scales, and oil paint. These ethereal pieces serve as complex, abstracted landscapes, their lines and details mapping histories and personal journeys. Alongside these will be a series of oil paintings on canvas, presenting surreal, unnerving dreamscapes, evocations of the precarious psychological states of the city space.
"The organic tones of Wallen Mapondera’s Musha Waparara lead the viewer into considering notions of land and deterioration in a carefully handled, but collapsing canvas. The heedful hands of the artist are seen in the cautious stitches that hold together the relic of a painting. Softened in the presence of time – the aged material of the canvas creates organic folds and cracks resembling a cartographical vestige of land held together by a thread." "Heedful hands in Zimbabwe", Zeitz Mocaa exhibition review by Pamela Bentley for ArtAfrica magazine, published Jan 10, 2019.