Artist Profile

Option Nyahunzvi

Artist Interview

Option Nyahunzvi has focused on printmaking and paper-based techniques in his practice.  His work is characterized by layers of bold color warmed by contour lines etched from paper overlaid on canvas.

Born in harare in 1992, he graduated from the National Gallery of Zimbabwe’s School of Visual Art & Design in 2015.

He is represented by Unit London.

Option’s studio is a converted carport in Ruwa, a short 20-minute drive from the capital,  Harare.  The garage door has been changed out to glass, allowing plenty of light.

 Without following a particular sketch or form, and sometimes loosely based on a photo, each piece takes shape organically.

An important feature of Shona spiritual life is the totem: an animal, plant or element of nature that is the emblem of the clan.  The totem protects the clan’s members and is a unifying symbol for social cohesion. 

The zebra is Option’s totem and stripe patterns are recurring themes in his work.

Option uses feared elements within traditional Shona spirituality to demystify them, including cow horn – polished and capped here for use as a snuff container. 

The snuff, known as “bute” in Shona, is used customarily for cleansing and healing purposes.

Here Option holds the “retso” – a mystical cloth imprinted with a distinct chevron pattern.

In Shona culture, the “retso” is believed to offer a linkage to the ancestral realm. When worn, the “retso” acts as a shield, equipping the bearer with wisdom and elevating them to become a master of their craft, known as huShavi.

Option’s studio, Studio Shavi, is named after this process.

 This large format piece depicts his daughter and nephew – connected to and embraced by family, clan and totem. 

The boy’s double pair of eyes and the girl’s glasses represent education, and learning to see beyond the obvious.

Gallery

Option’s Work

Artist: Option Nyahunzvi

Mupoterwi, 2021 (detail)

Material: Acrylics, oils on paper fused on canvas

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Artist: Option Nyahunzvi

Magic in the everyday life, 2020 (detail)

Material: Acrylics, coffee and collage on canvas

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Artist: Option Nyahunzvi

Maramba doro anoshoresa dzinza, 2021

Material: Acrylics, oils on paper fused on canvas

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Artist: Option Nyahunzvi

Untitled work, in progress, 2021 (detail)

Material: Acrylics, oils on paper fused on canvas

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