Jay Z rapped about a “Hard Knock Life” back in the late 90s. And while his life has tremendously changed for the better, financial wise, it remains pretty hard knock for many around the world. Inspired by poverty and deteriorating economy in Zimbabwe among other things, we explore ‘Manual’, a series of sculptures by Zimbabwean artist Michelle Mathison.
Through symbolic sculptures Michele explores the relation between cultural and manual work. Integrity for making an honest living and brutality perhaps for the hard labour that manual work requires and yet it’s always associated with “poor skills” and lower social rank. How ironic considering that those considered high class use the very same structures e.g roads and railways built by these workers. A two-wheeled carriage, a hoe and a shovel, all deemed cheap and they might be. But there’s nothing cheap about the end result made from these objects.
“I find that people and places can regard the same object in very different ways. I am interested in these double and multiple meanings because they allow me to present different sides to the story without necessarily stating my intention or point of view”. – Michelle Mathison