A Rwandan refugee living in South Africa since the age of 13, Nyambo MasaMara is a versatile multi-disciplinary artist, fabric and fashion designer, who works in a range of media and across platforms. Going by the name Eli Gold in his everyday life as a fashion designer, the pseudonym “Nyambo MasaMara” is derived from the artist’s totemic relationship to the national cattle of Rwanda.
BEYOND BORDERS, Nydambo MasaMara’s debut exhibition — seen partially in the photographs depicted below — consists of four photographs, and seven sculptures: three torsos, a motorbike, and three skulls. The narrative is set in a post-Apocalyptic space, the 4-part photographic sequence follows the route of a lone traveller, and some-time companion.
Kathy Berman of AfricaContemporary.Art (ACA) describes the collection of works below.
In this body of work, the journey morphs into an Afro-futurist, potentially dystopian, statement, where the traveller/nomad is placed in an indefinable earth-landscape, cracked and barren, and frozen in narrative with each successive photographic sequence. Drawing on his fashion background, both travellers and objects — like the sculptural works — are all encased in MasaMara spectacular digitally rendered brilliant geometric patterned fabric. Here MasaMara’s fabrics and couture — the alluring vestments of fashion — are discarded for a carapace (moulded from MasaMara fabric), a body shield that protects his travellers, and their spiritual totems, from adversity.
The BEYOND BORDERS concept not only engages the Pan-African traveller, depicted in proto-African fabrics and clothing, but is also a spiritual traveller, a space traveller, equipped with protective space helmet and totemic items. The dusty environment not only depicts an antithetically abandoned Homeland but an indefinable and liminal NoMansLand, where quite literally no-one ever belongs.
Ultimately the feeling is one of intense mystery, and an all-too-recognisable future for a world that has lived through a recent pandemic and is enduring the harsh consequences of climactic alteration.Kathy Berman, AfricaContemporary.Art
You can experience BEYOND BORDERS as part of a group exhibition at the Jaffer Modern in Green Point. Entitled Art of Everyday Things, the collection of works incorporates South African artists who work in a variety of media, from traditional oil and gouache to mosaic. It focuses on unconventional and whimsical usage of the subjects and objects as object d’art, sculptural installations, and photographs. The group exhibition will be available for viewing from 17 April to 29 May 2021.