Zimbabwean Art Activist Kudzanai Chiurai Makes a Dramatic Return with Solo Exhibit
His work has reached far and wide in galleries in New York, or in the private collections of Elton John and Richard Branson, only in his early 30s the Zimbabwean-born, South African based artist, Kudzanai Chiurai is one of the fastest-rising talents in the contemporary African Art scene.
CNN describes Kudzanai as
“a poet, activist and a cultural philosopher who uses his striking — and at times dark — creations to tackle the political and social issues that are close to his heart.”
On self-imposed exile from Zimbabwe since 2008 – after producing a political hot-potato portrait of Robert Mugabe, Kudzanai returns for his first solo exhibition in the motherland following on the heels of his solo exhibit We Live in Silence at Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, where the artist considered themes of post-colonialism and colonial futures, posing the question ‘what next?’ through We Need New Names, hosted by the National Gallery of Zimbabwe from the 9th of November.
The title of the exhibition refers to NoViolet Bulawayo’s debut novel, which explores the intersection of traditional and Christian values; patriarchal structures and gender roles; memories of ‘home’ before Zimbabwe’s independence, during the period of stability following this, and in the time “of things falling apart”; and the fractured identity that comes with immigration and assimilation into Western cultures.
Tracing Zimbabwe’s social and political changes, the exhibition references different ideological influences that informed the Liberation Movement, from the seeds of Pan-Africanism, the American Civil Rights and Black Power Movements, Nationalism and Communism.
Curated by independent South African curator Candice Allison whose work in Zimbabwean Visual Arts include ‘The First Supper’ in 2014 with Njelele Art Station which featured some of Kudzanai’s work. We Need New Names includes recent and previously unseen work such as photographic prints, drawings, oil paintings, video, material from the National Archives in Zimbabwe and South Africa, as well as Kudzanai’s own personal archive.
Chimurenga, the pan African platform of writing, art and politics will be landing its Pan-African Space Station (PASS) that will host a Pop-up programme. The Programme is an experiment in speaking, listening, collaborating and community as a performance and exhibition space; and as a research platform and living archive making. This is one of the three spaces PASS intends to land on, en route to Mexico City and Paris.
The PASS Harare sessions will bring together a broad spectrum of local artists, performers, writers, and musicians, to participate in conversations, performances, and happenings that provoke us to rethink about our histories and to speculate on our futures through artistic and cultural practice.