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NYAMBO MASA MARA. Beyond Borders.  Photograph 3. 'One Eye on Information'.png

Nyambo Masa Mara 

BEYOND BORDERS, by NYAMBO MASA MARA  consists of four photographs and seven mixed-media sculptures completed under the banner of sister company AFRICACONTEMPORARY.ART during lockdown and exhibited at Jaffer Modern in 2021.. The exhibition focuses on two travellers journeying through an  Apocalyptic space - a surreal attestation to migration and hope. It is a deeply personal evocation.


Nyambo Masa Mara, whose totemic name is derived from the famed long-horned cattle of Rwanda, first ventured into visual art in 2021 with a submission to the Zeitz MOCAA exhibition, Home is Where the Art Is | Art is Where the Home Is, where he submitted a sculptural installation entitled REFUGEE | REFUSED, a socio-political commentary on African refugees – at once painful and uplifting - in collaboration with Kathryn L Berman, founder of Just Art and Africa Contemporary Art


BEYOND BORDERS takes this commentary into a more personal, and more spiritual, space.  The four photographs, The Promise, Uhambi 1 (The Traveller), Uhambi 2 and The Seer, are set in a barren, parched and infinitely empty No-Mans-Land. In The Promise, a traveller, fully concealed in a post Apocalyptic full-body "Hazmat suit "–  struggles to walk along a flat, red, cracked, parched earth. The traveller is weighed down by bulky (Masa Mara fabric-covered) baggage. A brilliant white light shines through the cloudy blue sky. The second photograph in the series, The Traveller 1 depicts two travellers and a motorbike, one driving, the other pushing, going where? Traveller 2 shows just one traveller, seated watching the invisible and silent (non)-emissions of an old-style television set. The final photograph, the Seer depicts a traveller de-helmeted and still on the sandy post-Apocalyptic No-Mans-Land, staring into a mirror. An indeterminate Being / Totem / Self reflects back - a profound statement on identity, loss and survival – particularly in a post-pandemic world.


Three of the four large sculptures – torsos emerging as / encased in MasaMara fabric protective shields  – continue the narrative in powerful three-dimensional forms. The fourth large sculpture is the motorbike, Spirit Rider which features in the photographs – the force propelling the travellers onwards. Three small skulls, Seed I, II, III were also on show – almost evidence of a potential life in times past / present and future.



Nyambo Masa Mara, a Rwandan refugee living in South Africa, was born in Rwanda in 1991. The family was forced to flee to neighbouring DRC during the Genocide of 1994. At the age of 13, he was sent on a solo journey across Africa by his family, to join his older brother who had found work in Cape Town. He completed his schooling in Cape Town and studied  business studies at Fishhoek Academy.  Following a period working for a finance institution, Nyambo took the leap into fashion. He had started selling sportswear for an inner-city trader, and, thereafter, apprenticed to a local tailor. He quickly established himself as an innovative and creative fashion designer, whose brand Masa Mara reflects his pan-African roots.

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