Wallen Mapondera’s intricate textiles testify to the strength of fellow Zimbabweans

Mapondera’s “Tuck Shop” series, perhaps his most poignant social commentary on the state of Zimbabwe, was made in response to the crippling effect of hyperinflation in the country – when the shelves of popular supermarkets went downhill. been completely emptied, leaving people to turn only to fallback stores for survival. The rudimentary stores contained little more than snacks in plastic bags, tissue paper and, in some cases, lemons, at a time when staples like cornmeal, rice, and olive oil. cuisine was scarce.

To create the series, Mapondera replicated the informal architecture of tuckshops and limited supply products by interspersing compressed packaging like cardboard egg crates and plastic food wrappers, as well as plastic tarpaulin and toilet paper. distressed, between wooden frames to mimic the shelves found in these small retail units. . He created dense layers of these mixed materials by folding, cutting and sewing, turning the discarded materials into a visual tapestry of various shapes and patterns. The works in this series conceptually examined a grave period in recent Zimbabwe history, where survival meant persevering through traumatic and hopeless realities.

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