Be a voter!

african, design, From the sketchbooks, idea, illustration, Ken Wilson-Max, Zimbabwe

I was asked to illustrate a poster designed by Chaz Maviyane-Davies to get people to vote. The first time we worked together on a similar message was back in Zimbabwe when I was knee-high to grasshopper! I made an illustration for a magazine called Moto (meaning ‘Fire’ in Shona) which published a lot of sociopolitical stuff.

So I did the cover, thought nothing about it, and off it went to print. A couple of awards later and I knew a couple, of things; firstly, I was quite good at interpreting ideas, and secondly, I didn’t want to be down for doing heavy sociopolitical work alone. I wasn’t even 20 years old!

Anyway, that’s when I first had the bright idea to travel and seek my fame and fortune, but that is another story…

Fast forward to 2018 and the real need for people to take their social and political responsibilities seriously. This is how it took shape, from rough (very rough) sketches to finished art:

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And here’s the finished piece. Wherever you are , #be a voter!




Political illustration

african, idea, illustration, Ken Wilson-Max

I never thought I was political. As a teen it didn’t matter until the country changed (was liberated). It went from Rhodesia to Zimbabwe Rhodesia and then finally to Zimbabwe. Even as a not too bothered teen the birth of Zimbabwe was a euphoric experience. The last couple of posts have a political feel to them. My first published illustration was a political one, a cover for a magazine called Moto (Fire) which had found evidence of a massacre by the new Zimbabwe government. Around 20 000 people were terrorised and killed in the run  up to the country’s first elections and buried in shallow graves. The event was covered up for many years due to the all-seeing eye and iron grip of the new government, but eventually more evidence surfaced and for the first time people saw what their new government was capable of. I remember waiting for the door of our studio (The Maviyane Project) to be kicked down but it never came.  Some years later press freedom in Zimbabwe was, and still is, severely restricted meaning that if such an article came out again doors would definitely be knocked down, people dragged away, their futures immediately uncertain.

Other happy subjects I illustrated; corruption, rape and poverty. I was 17 but I felt the emotional burden of someone much older.

I’m ready to make these illustrations again almost 30 years later.

You can read about Moto magazine here, and about the Maviyane Project’s Chaz Maviyane Davies here.