The installation ‘Heads of Cattle’ when translated to the Oshiwambo language means ‘Uusita Woongombe’. Oongombe is the word for cattle, Uusita is the word for farming head as part of the body and head as someone in charge of leading a group, as a place of our mind and one’s mental abilities.
The Heads of Cattle’ is explored in different ways, the characteristics are of a special cow, the form of its horns or either name or age. The cattle are relevant to exhibitionist Alpheus Mvula because of his culture upbringing of always having had to help one another during cultivation.
Present in the body of works, Mvula notes that the influence to create started a long time ago.
As part of his heritage that he believes has been passed down to him by his ancestors, he chose to carry it on.
“I felt that it was my responsibility to do so, by exploring the complexity of the outside world, I have also managed to explore the complexity of my inner feelings, desires and dreams. I am very connected to cattle and to a great father’s memory of their time.
Mvula further highlighted that the form inspired him to create a torso, attached to a cattle’s head which resembles the human form in shape.
“The breast are the eyes, and the cut of legs are nose, when the arms up, it becomes a cow and when the arms are down, it becomes a bull with downward facing horns”.
The idea of the exhibition was to create an installation of stone sculptures lined up in a way that resembles kind of flock of cattle standing in its cattle post.
Displaying the stones in a special way in order to depict harmony is also part of Mvula’s art. “I am focusing only on the horns, faces and eyes. The Oshiwambo cattle with its round horns shape are removed as a typical African cattle. Its horns are often used for traditional celebrations. We can discover in all cultural ceremonies, like traditional weddings or during the Oshipe festivity and the Mahangu celebration.
By displaying my sculptures, I wanted to create a connection between all different meanings and symbolisms, the memory of the past, present and future.
The horns of the cattle being part of a flock and occupying and important space are the expression of celebration, the celebration of culture, my traditional culture”.