Misheck Masamvu

A series of paintings at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia

By Biennale of Sydney

22nd Biennale of Sydney: NIRIN

Cat’s Cradle by Misheck MasamvuBiennale of Sydney

About the artist

Misheck Masamvu
Born 1980 Mutare, Zimbabwe
Lives and works in Harare, Zimbabwe and Johannesburg, South Africa 


Therapy Lounge Therapy Lounge (2019) by Misheck MasamvuBiennale of Sydney

Working predominantly as a painter and sculptor, Misheck Masamvu describes his works as "mutants that oscillate between abstraction and figuration". 

The paintings, drawings and poetry which Masamvu has produced for the 22nd Biennale of Sydney deal with the struggle against social conditioning, existing as a space where the artist can move beyond the responses which have been forced upon him by systems of oppression and governance.

Cat’s Cradle Exhibition view by Misheck MasamvuBiennale of Sydney

Masamvu produced these works in Kenya, South Africa and Germany. They form part of a nomadic project in which the artist deliberately places himself in new and unfamiliar environments.

Therapy Lounge Exhibition viewBiennale of Sydney

In searching for a different way of being in the world and through actively seeking out a state of alienation, the artist is able to escape the oppressive systems which categorise people and enforce particular ways of behaving in the world. 

Pink Gorillas in Hell are Gods Pink Gorillas in Hell are Gods (2019) by Misheck MasamvuBiennale of Sydney

His paintings comment on political and social happenings with a restlessness, mobility, multiplicity and a refusal to stay still. His poetry informs these paintings as well as his drawings, which are exhibited at Campbelltown Arts Centre.  

Therapy Lounge Exhibition viewBiennale of Sydney

"NIRIN for me relates to the idea of transformation. There are considerable changes in the state and nature of an object while in motion...


...This shift creates a build-up of energy, which alters or enhances our ‘nature-self’. This process can lead to a sense of uprootedness from our environment. We have no choice other than to live in harmony with our surroundings. ...

... We are joined at the hip to the bark, soil and water. Our hearts beat the same tune. But instead, we often wear costumes of moral inadequacy, seeking profit over relevance."

- Misheck Masamvu

Navigate through the gallery at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia and explore Misheck Masamvu’s paintings

Budding Spirits Budding Spirits (2019) by Misheck MasamvuBiennale of Sydney

Keep exploring...

Watch the Goodman Gallery video, In Conversation with Misheck Masamvu and Brook Andrew, for further insight into Misheck Masamvu's artistic practice or take the Virtual Tour of Campbelltown Arts Centre to view more of Masamvu's work.

Credits: Story

Combed Grass, 2019
Therapy Lounge, 2019
Cat’s Cradle, 2019
Unaccounted Histories, 2019
Budding Spirits, 2019
Pink Gorillas in Hell are Gods, 2019
oil on canvas
Courtesy the artist and Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa; Cape Town; and London

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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