Russian artist who mocked Mugabe describes fleeing Zim

petro smoke

Petro Wodkins

By Alex Bell
SW Radio Africa
16 January 2014

A Russian artist who caused uproar among the ZANU PF loyal security forces over a song that mocks Robert Mugabe, has described fleeing possible arrest last week.

Petro Wodkins, a well known modern artist and performer, was last year invited to be part of the 2014 Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA).

“Probably they’re thinking I’m kind of artist who’s against the western world. So when I got this, I decided to make a project against Robert Mugabe,” Wodkins told SW Radio Africa on Wednesday.

Wodkins designed and built a large, gold painted ‘musical’ statue of himself blowing trumpets, wired to play a song produced by the artist too. The song, which Wodkins has released with a video this week, mocks Mugabe for being “bad for Zimbabwe.”

“Well I sent them (HIFA) a picture of the statue and the song, and then they refused to allow me in the show,” Wodkins explained, saying the HIFA officials withdrew their invitation because of the “nature” of his artwork.

“But I decided to go to Zimbabwe anyway and give my statue as a gift,” Wodkins said.

The artist travelled to the country last week and originally planned to set up the musical statue in Unity Square. But the plans changed when he realised “it would only last 30 seconds.” He instead decided to take the statute on a road trip across Zimbabwe, with hidden cameras in tow to film a video.

“I went around Zimbabwe, around villagers and markets and showed it to people and played the song, and just have some fun,” Wodkins explained.

He said the reaction from ordinary Zimbabweans was very positive, saying: “I only had maybe four complaints. Most people really loved it, and danced and had lots of fun.”

Wodkins designed and built a large, gold painted ‘musical’ statue of himself blowing trumpets

The artist eventually decided to leave the statue on Robert Mugabe road, and within five minutes police and army officials had been dispatched to tear the statue down. Wodkins said the statue was completely destroyed, along with the hidden camera that was discovered after the authorities searched the area.

A manhunt was then launched for Wodkins, but he managed to flee the security forces and leave the country before being caught.

“I did this as a reminder to the world of what such a dictator Robert Mugabe is. We should be reminding people about him, because right now he is seen just as a nice old man, but he’s not really,” Wodkins said.

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9 Responsesto “Russian artist who mocked Mugabe describes fleeing Zim”

  1. Rufaro Ndlovu says:

    Oh dear! Some of my relatives told me about this strange white man shaking and jumping and chanting incantations in a strange tongue. They couldn’t believe their eyes. Some thought he was an escaped lunatic. Others blamed witchcraft believing he was a giant tokoloshe man, and they danced out of fear for their very lives. Only a tokoloshe man could leave his totem so close to our president, and then disappear into thin air. I hope the destruction of the togoloshe totem by police and army officials will not be a bad omen for our president.

    • Yepec says:

      Rufaro Ndlovu, how come you have left it to for fake, Chimbwido Wavet, the burden of defending the corrupt, looting and smuggling bunch in that organisation of gangsters? Where have you been hiding, in the London Embassy closet and listening to how much the people of Zimbabwe hate Mugabe? Now that there are two of you, the mercenary one, will be able to share the burden of praise singing. May be he will, also, have a genuine sidekick to answer the contradictions he creates in his efforts to whitewash the hellish conditions Zanu PF is creating in the country.

      • Memory Muchavaira says:

        Shame on you Yepec for chastising our simple Zimbabwe sister Rufaro. It is obvious the poor girl is not familiar with either HIFA or the alien diaspora culture it imports. She demonstrates a genuine concern commensurate with her beliefs. Derisive entertainment in the form of satirical rapping is beyond Rufaro’s comprehension, as are the rants and raves of our frustrated and much maligned brother comrade Chimbwido Warvet.

        • Chimbwido Warvet says:

          First of all, I do not believe anything you have said about the Warvet. He is not a frustrated and maligned in the minds of his constituency. They love him for telling the truth and saying it as is without fear or favour. He is not like this idiot who goes to Zimbabwe and pretends to be Russian. His name does not sound Russian at all. It is not true. It has been made up. Russians do not have bones to chew with Zimbabwe. This guy’s name sounds European. Russians do not consider themselves as Europeans and their political philosophies are different from the Europeans.

          What is so intriguing, so unbelievable and so stupid is this so-called Russian artist goes with his artwork which he wants to display in this country but chickens out and took to his heels. Why did he take to his heels if he firmly believed in his artwork and convictions? One thing that is clear to me is that he is not honourable, a coward, his work was malicious, showed his contempt of the people of this country, he could not display such artistic work in Moscow where there is a well known dictator in office, President Vladimir Putin. The Russian security could have broken his jaw for this kind of display in Moscow.

          Well, I have a feeling our security guys did not do a good job here. They should have arrested him and dealt with him in ways he could have gone to Russia or whichever country of his origin and spread the gospel that his foolish behaviour can not be done in this part of Africa. They come to an African country and do all those foolish things which they can not allow foreigners to do in their own countries. I can not go in London and display a stupid statute about Cameron and get away with it. The security forces of this country will kick my backside most severely.

          • Common Sense says:

            Actually, in the UK you could do something like that, people do it all the time, you haven’t been to speakers corner in Hyde Park?

          • Mike Rook says:

            A very good day to you Cde Warvet. I suggest you display Cameron’s picture at the next labour party annual conference.

          • Chimbwido Warvet says:

            You mean a display of Cameron’s musical statue blowing about the bailing out of major banks using taxpayers’ money? Well, he should not have done that because there is no bank or business that is too big to fail.

  2. End-The-Dictatorship says:

    Good man, someone with the courage of his convictions

  3. jacob mungoshi says:

    Dear Wodkins how about remindng the world what a vile dictator Putin is

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