In 2020 a global disaster struck, as the virus Covid 19 rapidly became top of the news and top of human concerns worldwide..
here is part of my larger painting, portraying a hand on heart greeting, common to the Changana community with whom we live in the South Eastern lowveld of Zimbabwe…
The Hand on Heart greeting is called Kusheweta ….
In response so many art galleries had to close doors, close exhibition opening and work from home, from safe spaces. The world of Art Fairs and shows turned upside down and went online. In response The National Gallery of Zimbabwe curated an online exhibition, titled “Will the Sun Rise Again Post Covid?”
Enough of #socialdistancing and #isolation in #lockdown! …hands not touching, reaching out but unable to make contact…is the #cure or #precaution worse than the #disease?! We are #socialanimals, and the lack of skin contact, severance of human connection, must surely damage our psyche, our sense of well being, in far-reaching ways…
We need to find a way to encourage and manage social contacts, so as to preserve each others health and preserve the health of our whole eco-systems…
My painting “Hands on Hearts” expresses my wish for a global social ‘togetherness”, a healthy environment and a stable human community….
Lin Barrie, “Hands on Hearts”, acrylic painting on canvas, 90 x 128 cm
A handshake is a globally widespread, brief greeting or parting tradition in which two people grasp one of each other’s like hands, in most cases accompanied by a brief up-and-down movement of the grasped hands. Using the right hand is generally considered proper etiquette. Customs surrounding handshakes are specific to cultures. Different cultures may be more or less likely to shake hands, or there may be different customs about how or when to shake hands. The handshake is believed by some to have originated as a gesture of peace by demonstrating that the hand holds no weapon
Handshakes are known to spread a number of microbial pathogens. Certain diseases such as scabies are known to spread the most through direct skin-to-skin contact. A medical study has found that fist bumps and high fives spread fewer germs than handshakes
Policies encouraging people to use alternative modes of greeting instead of a handshake have become a feature of 2020… such as fist bumping, smiling, bowing, waving, and non-contact Namaste gestures, raised brows, smiling, wai bow, two claps, hand over heart, sign language wave, or the shaka sign elbow bump, the fist bump, foot tapping !
It has been discovered as a part of a research in the Weizmann Institute, that human handshakes serve as a means of transferring social chemical signals between the shakers. It appears that there is a tendency to bring the shaken hands to the vicinity of the nose and smell them. They may serve an evolutionary need to learn about the person whose hand was shaken, replacing a more overt sniffing behavior, as is common among animals and in certain human cultures (such as Tuvalu, Greenland or rural Mongolia, where a quick sniff is part of the traditional greeting ritual)Namaste, a traditional Hindu greeting, means, “The Divine within me bows to the same Divine within you”
Countries such as Japan, Korea, do not have a tradition of shaking hands and prefer to formally bow (with hands open by their sides) to each other,
- Related to a handshake but more casual, some people prefer a fist bump. Only the knuckles of the clenched hand are touched to the knuckles of the other person’s hand. Like a handshake the fist bump may be used to acknowledge a relationship with another person. However, unlike the formality of a handshake, the fist bump is typically not used to seal a business deal or in formal business settings.
- The hand hug is a type of handshake popular with politicians, as it can present them as being warm, friendly, trustworthy and honest. This type of handshake involves covering the clenched hands with the remaining free hand, creating a sort of “cocoon”.
- Another version popular with politicians is a “photo-op handshake” in which, after the initial grasp both individuals turn to face present photographers and camera men and stay this way for several seconds.
- Scouts shake hands with their left hand as a gesture of trust, a practice which originated when the founder of the movement, Lord Baden-Powell of Gilwell, then a British cavalry officer, met an African tribesman.
- In some areas of Africa, handshakes are continually held to show that the conversation is between the two talking. If they are not shaking hands, others are permitted to enter the conversation.
- Masai men in Africa greet one another by a subtle touch of palms of their hands for a very brief moment of time.
- In Liberia, the snap handshake is customary in which the two shakers snap their fingers against each other at the conclusion of the handshake.
- In Ethiopia, it is considered rude to use the left hand during a handshake. While greeting the elderly or a person in authority, it is also customary to accompany the handshake with a bow and the left hand supporting the right. This is especially important if it is the first time.
- In Thailand, handshaking is only done if the traditional “Wai” is not offered. The person will offer what’s called a “wai,” placing their palms together at chest level and bowing. Return the gesture.
The shaka sign, sometimes known as “hang loose” and in South Africa as “tjovitjo” (pronounced tcho-VEE-tcho), is a gesture of friendly intent often associated with Hawaii and surf culture. It consists of extending the thumb and smallest finger while holding the three middle fingers curled, and gesturing in salutation while presenting the front or back of the hand; the hand may be rotated back and forth for emphasis. While the shaka sign has spread internationally from its Hawaiian cultural roots to surf culture and beyond, the hand gesture also bears a variety of meaning in different contexts and regions of the world.
In our Tsonga (Hlengwe) area of south east zimbabwe (northern Tsonga region towards the Limpopo River), Women use hand clapping horizontally, Men use hand clapping vertically.
Kubamavoko is the act of hand clapping Bamavoko hand clapping.
Or, my favourite greeting, men use Hand on Heart.
Kusheweta is the act of ‘ hand on heart’ greeting, and Sheweta is the noun.
Lin Barrie, Life studies, Charcoal Sketches: in response to Social greeting customs and Covid Concerns..
“Handshake”, by Lin Barrie, charcoal on white paper, A2 size
“Don’t Touch”, by Lin Barrie, charcoal on white paper, A2 size
“Hand on Heart” by Lin Barrie, charcoal on white paper, A2 size
View my art video/slideshow…
Hand on Heart video you tube link:
Here is my painting hung in a virtual room, with a gorgeous yellow life-affirming settee, which I chose because of the hopeful and positive colour!
I created that virtual hanging before pantone announced, as they do annually, their choice of ‘Colour of the Year’
I am intrigued by the serendipitous Pantone Colour of the year 2021 announcement… Two colours chosen, a Golden Yellow colour called “Illuminating” and “Ultimate Gray”, both of which have great synergy with my Hands on Hearts painting…
“The union of an enduring Ultimate Grey with the vibrant yellow Illuminating expresses a message of positivity supported by fortitude. Practical and rock solid but at the same time warming and optimistic, this is a colour combination that gives us resilience and hope. We need to feel encouraged and uplifted; this is essential to the human spirit.”
I could not have said it better myself!
Hands on Hearts, acrylic painting on canvas, by Lin Barrie…
Chief Mahenye’s people, the Hlengwe people of South East Zimbabwe (which is the Northern Tsonga region towards the Limpopo River) use the “hand on heart” greeting. ‘Kusheweta’ is the verb, the act of greeting, and ‘Sheweta’ is the noun, the greeting.
I choose to see the positive survival of these cultural traditions in a healthy Zimbabwean community, a vibrant ecosystem.
The sun WILL rise again post COVID.
The universe is no doubt unfolding as it should.
The human spirit, in conjunction with the natural world, WILL prevail and triumph.
Lin, what a thoughtful and wonderful piece of writing, and great powerful painting.
Thanks dear Jem, I so value your comments, a Peaceful and Hopeful Festive season to you and Yours, xxx