A sense of spiritualism greets one at fast-rising visual artist Option Nyahunzvi’s Studio Shavi. Located in Ruwa, this is no extraordinary space; in fact, it is a mere carport repurposed to a creative space; producing exceptional art work that has since spread across the globe as part of revered mixed media work by top private collectors.
Of probably the hundreds of artwork produced by Nyahunzvi in this very space, there is a constant reminder of one’s identity, a sense of being often alluded to by totems.
A glance at the current body of work in progress, about eight mixed media works that are a combination of acrylic, print, paper, and ink, shows Nyahunzvi often employs zebra stripes, his totem.
Sometimes the stripes are painted in different body parts which according to him is his way of bringing out the fact that the spirit of the ancestors is always watching over its people.
“I always put an emphasis on self-being, often relating to my ancestry,” said Nyahunzvi. “You have to know where you come from to truly know yourself. I merge this notion in my work, relating to my generation, thus calling on my peers to self-examine and understand oneself. “I believe this to be my quest which I execute through art.”
Nyahunzvi’s appearance reinforces his beliefs and the recurring spiritualism in his work.
From his hairstyle; very thick dreadlocks popular with mbira players, to his clothes often tailor made from material associated with spirit mediums such as ‘retso’.
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Since the Covid-19 pandemic hit the world early last year, visual art, like any other genre, was affected.
Most galleries and art spaces abandoned the traditional exhibitions that attract large numbers of people to physical spaces opting for online options.
Nyahunzvi adopted to the changing trends in selling his art, thus connecting with collectors and would be buyers via social media.
“Instagram is a great way to market art and visibility on the art scene, especially now that we do not get to interact like we used to,” he said. “Social media also exposes our art to different markets as it has a wider reach than physical spaces.”
Nyahunzvi said the pandemic has forced players in the art world to visit each other at their work spaces.
“It’s a good thing that we now visit each other more often than we used to do as it is the only way we can see each other as artists and art practitioners,” he said.
Studio Shavi has had its fair share of visitors, including high profile collectors. One of the visitors is the wife of the current United States ambassador.
“My studio is open for visitors,” he said. “We have to constantly observe Covid-19 prevention measures for everyone’s safety, of course.”