Anyone who cares about the freedom of artistic expression, or about the chances of any healing in Zimbabwe any time soon, must surely condemn in the strongest terms the arrest of Owen Maseko in Bulawayo on Friday last week. Owen is one of Zimbabwe’s most outstanding young artists – his paintings hang on walls all over the world – and he, like all Zimbabweans and all artists everywhere, has a right to explore and express any aspect of his world.
Owen launched a very courageous exhibition of art on Thursday last week on the theme of Gukurahundi, featuring installations, large paintings, and paintings and graffiti done directly on to the walls. Why is it, that 27 years after army troops began their massacres in Matabeleland and the Midlands, this issue is still so sensitive that people affected cannot dare to speak out? To heal, people MUST be allowed to process their pain, so that they can move on. Victims need understanding and space to be heard, not to be locked into jail cells for daring to show the wounds of the nation.
Owen Maseko is now on bail of USD100 and he has to report to the police station every Friday. Click here to view photos of some of Owen’s art in our gallery.