Mugabe’s art captures some of Zimbabwe’s day to day issues. Johnson Mugabe is an emerging Zimbabwean self taught paper collage artist. The young artist is based in Harare where he works from his home studio.
Johnson started drawing at an early age but he didn’t consider himself an artist until he was in his early twenties. That’s when he stumbled upon paper collage art and fell in love with it. Johnson’s subject matter mostly about is people going through their daily routines with a strong bias towards children. That is because he considers childhood the happiest phase of his life and he seeks reconnect with those memories.
“Kunochera Mvura” -Mugabe’s art showing a little girl going to fetch water – connects well with a thirsty and dry Zimbabwe. Even before the recent water crisis Zimbabwean women carry water (and firewood) on their head. In the old days people would carry and store water in clay pots. A Given Sithandi painting shows the use of this traditional use of clay pots. These days people rely on plastic containers like the one in Mugabe paper collage above.
Johnson exhibited his work at the Wild Geese Art Festival 2018 where one of his pieces won the “Most Unusual Work on Show” Award. He also scooped a certificate of merit in the Artists In The Stream X exhibition at Gallery Delta (year 2020). He signs his work “nosnhoj”. And, you may have deciphered, that his signature is his name spelled backwards.