COW HORNS AND MORE: TAKUNDA REGIS BILLIAT.
By Nii B. Andrews.
Cow horns feature prominently in the sculptures produced by Takunda Regis Billiat, an artist from Zimbabwe.
At the center of Zimbabwean traditions and culture, the horns have always signified wealth, marriage and prayer – as a medium of communication with the spiritual world.
Billiat combines the horns with discarded telephone receivers and pieces of cloth and thereby mines their innate and symbolic narratives.
Thus the horns reference poor communication within the society and between generations.
All three elements when juxtaposed symbolize the discarded elements of society – a society that desperately tries to salvage its identity while being ripped apart as both tradition and modernity fail to provide answers to contemporary challenges.
Billiat states in a touching lament, ” I hear them calling, let there be light upon our lives, upon our broken hearts.
Let there be a break upon our cursed life of being bound to poverty, both physically and spiritually, with an aim of not to succeed in life.
To those who practise their evil ways, let them surrender their weapons of destruction so that we do not destroy each other but build our future, confidently with our abilities and strengths of love and honesty, and to move forward as one majority, one unity so that we become MUPANGARA of one vision of communicating in one voice without piercing the innocent.
We must not live in such fear.”