Jack’s Story told in Mutare

Two artists, Chido Johnson and Hleziphi Naomie Nyanungo, are working together to re-tell the history of the eastern highlands in a project called Jack’s Story.

The title was depicted from Jack the “man-servant” who accompanied Kingsley Fairbridge on his trips to Mutare (Umtali by then). Johnson and Nyanungo realised that history had overlooked Jack’s vision by focusing only on Fairbridge’s.

Johnson, a professor of Fine Arts at the College of Creative Studies in Michigan, USA and Nyanungo, a lecturer in the institute of Peace, Leadership and Governance at Africa University, have been working with Harare-based filmmaker, Kumbulani Zamuchiya.

The project began in 2010 with Johnson making a sculpture inspired by the old monument to Kingsley Fairbridge that once stood on Christmas Pass.

The performance is one of three parts of a larger project. The second part of the project is a performance where Johnson climbs up Mount Chiremba in which two separate visions are recorded illustrating how the same location can inspire different visions. The final part of the project will be a story written by Hleziphi about Jack’s vision.

According to a statement by the artists: “The idea of the project is to help people appreciate that everyone is a visionary. All great inventions and developments begin with one or more people having a vision. Visions encapsulate our desires and aspirations for the future. The diverse group of residents that are articulating their desire and aspiration for their city are visionaries. In this way, the project deconstructs the colonial legacy that Kingsley Fairbridge was the only visionary.”

Meanwhile, the project has received tremendous support from organisations and individuals within and beyond Mutare, including the Mayor’s Office of Mutare, the National Gallery of Zimbabwe in Mutare and Power House Productions in Detroit, Michigan.

Post published in: Entertainment

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