Desinger Chaz Maviyane-Davies pushing the boundaries of Social Justice

 

That graphic designer Chaz Maviyane-Davies‘ work pushes the boundaries of social justice is not surprising. If you want to know what he was like as a child, ask his high school art teacher Ms. Buckland. “She used to tremble and turn pink,” he remembers. “I caused a lot of problems for my teachers. Everyone said I gave her such grief because of my work.”

Ms. Buckland’s complaint was simple—Maviyane-Davies was being himself. When competing in a national competition for a hospital mural, he departed from his classmates’ formulaic depictions of nurses and doctors and painted an image of a traditional healer. (“A witch doctor in the West,” he clarifies with a laugh.) Though the school staff was mortified, his mural won second place, setting the tone for his future career.

“I grew up in a racist state as a second-class citizen,” Maviyane-Davies says of his upbringing in Zimbabwe, then known as Rhodesia. He was only 12 when Ian Smith created a separatist white government as an attempt to thwart black leadership. “No African rule in my lifetime,” Mr. Smith brazenly declared. “The white man is master of Rhodesia. He has built it, and he intends to keep it.”

Images transport ideas, but design drives them. The act of design is an act of independence

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Against that backdrop, Maviyane-Davies dreamed of leaving his country to pursue art, as such options were unavailable in his homeland. He couldn’t receive a passport until he entered the army so he was conscripted into the military after completing training as an electronics draftsman, drawing circuit diagrams. With papers in hand, he settled on three potential overseas locations that would welcome a Rhodesian passport: South Africa, which was still in the throes of apartheid; Malawi, which was too close and was a puppet state of South Africa; and Switzerland, that bastion of neutrality. Within weeks of his discharge, Maviyane-Davies was on a plane to Geneva.

His stay in Switzerland was short. Although he reveled in the newfound freedom of expression, Maviyane-Davies spoke neither French nor German, so he was often isolated from his new environment. He packed up and headed back to Africa within six months, ultimately settling in Zambia in 1974. “I went all this way to travel 300 miles from where I started,” he notes. Restless yet again, he only stayed in Zambia for a year to take a foundation course in design, until his mainly English faculty suggested that he consider heading to London. Learning in Zambia was wrought with practical challenges, namely a lack of proper teaching materials and supplies

(Read from AIGA)

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Maria Papaefstathiou

VISUAL DESIGNER since 1996 and blogger since 2010. Living in Athens, Greece. She has been focusing her research on poster design and particularly on social poster design and portrait design. Her main poster project is a series of posters celebrating great personalities of traditional and popular culture in Greece and Jamaica. These include actors, singers, musicians, poets etc. This is an ongoing project. “I believe that design is a powerful tool that we designers can use to spark enthusiasm, change mindsets and bring positive actions to our world and our culture”. FOUNDER AND EDITOR OF GRAPHICART-NEWS.COM BLOG. She carefully curates high-quality designs, illustrations, and art, from all over the world that will teach and provoke other designers. Many consider her blog to be an exceptional educational tool. CO-FOUNDER OF THE INTERNATIONAL REGGAE POSTER CONTEST which was launched on December 2011, partnering, the creative activist Michael Thompson aka Freestylee. (www.reggaepostercontest.com)

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