Maintaining the distance.
Breaching time and space.
By Nyadzombe Nyampenza
She belts out a song with heart and soul. The audience is hooked. Even her bandmates are mesmerized. Lost in rapture she is oblivious to the adoration. Her eyelids shut out the world like a priestess in contemplation of God. Lovemore Kambudzi’s portrayal of a live band captures the ritual essence from an indoor performance.
The female singer is carefully groomed. Her manicured nails spell passion in red. The ample bosom is alluringly exposed. A cropped top leaves her stomach bare. More skin is uncovered by her lower garment, which in her posture is drawn back to titillating proportions. But it is not her sex appeal that has the crowd on tenterhooks. The audience is stunned by her transcending voice.
On canvas the scene is a suspended state of elation. The senses are muted. No song can be heard. The singer’s lips do not move. Body heat from the thronging fans, beer fumes, and cigarette smoke typical of such occasions are not discernible on the canvas. The artist presents a silent reverie. A gathering like worshipers at a shrine caught up in a religious ecstasy.
Kambudzi’s work collapses time and space. It allows an event from the past to be experienced in the present moment. The painting conveys energy from a band performance in spite of the difference in time and location. A new audience is gathered — from a distance.