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January 26, 2016 - Comments Off on Pixels of Ubuntu/Unhu – Zimbabwean pavilion of the 56th Venice Biennale – 13 Feb – 7 March 2016

Pixels of Ubuntu/Unhu – Zimbabwean pavilion of the 56th Venice Biennale – 13 Feb – 7 March 2016

In a major cultural coup for the local l Art (AVA) has negotiated to bring the highly-acclaimed exhibition in the Zimbabwean Pavilion from last year’s 56th Venice Biennale to Cape Town.

Pixels of Ubuntu/Unhu – Exploring the Social and Cultural Identities of 21st Century will open at the AVA Gallery on Saturday, February 13, and be on view until 7 March 2016.

It will be the first show of the work by the three artists - Chiconzero Chazunguza, Masimba Hwati and Gareth Nyandoro - after the prestige event in Italy, and will coincide with the Cape Town Art Fair later in February. (In April it will be exhibited in Harare.)

The project, which will bring the artists, as well as the curator Raphael Chikukwa to the Mother City, is made possible by support provided by Pro Helvetia and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.

Presented under the auspices of the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Pixels of

organisation, the Association for VisuaUbuntu/Unhu was the centre of much praise during the Venice Biennale last year, the third time that Zimbabwe’s pavilion stood out in the art maze of this big biannual international event.

As the subtitle indicates, the artists interrogate identity and its place in the global sphere. The subject is an ongoing Zimbabwean source of inspiration. Pixels of Ubuntu/Unhu continues the discourse on the appreciation and practice of ‘Ubuntu/Unhu’. Zimbabwean elders say “umuntu ngumuntu ngaBantu/ munhu munhu navanhu”. This is the deep-seated Afro centric assertion that “I am because we are” - which is the cornerstone of African people’s identity.

Chikonzero Chazunguza (born 1967) earned an MFA from the Institute of Pictorial Arts in Sofia, Bulgaria, where he spent seven years. He returned to Zimbabwe in search of uniting his European training with indigenous art. His artist resource centre, Dzimbanhete Arts Interaction on the outskirts of Harare, is still thriving. Recipient of numerous awards, he has exhibited in Africa, Europe and North America.

His multidisciplinary artworks raise questions about the postcolonial condition and about the unstable role and nature of art in that context. Among his most compelling works are those that reinstate for the viewer, a sense of ritual order and of life’s deeper mysteries, alongside proffering incisive, yet subtle social and political analysis.

Masimba Hwati (1982) studied visual arts at the Harare Polytechnic, majoring in ceramics and painting. He has collaborated with artists from outside Zimbabwe and his work is in several private collections.

His interest is the memory and energy of traditional objects, and the space they occupy in the urban world. His work explores the transformation and evolvement of indigenous knowledge systems. He teaches art at the Polytechnic.

Gareth Nyandoro (1982) trained at Masvingo Polytechnic, Harare Polytechnic and Chinhoyi University of Technology. Street life and the human interaction that accompanies it are recurring themes in his work. He has exhibited in Zimbabwe, Africa and abroad, with various residencies and is currently on one at the Rijksakademie in the Netherlands.

Nyandoro combines images of vendors with found materials which he processes by employing idiosyncratic variations on traditional craft techniques - like weaving with paper. His installations bring the two- and three-dimensional components together through drawing, props, and objects. These works reflect his research in relation to space, narrative, or storytelling, and materials as they are altered and transferred.

Raphael Chikukwa is chief curator at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe. He has been in charge of the two previous pavilions in Venice. The National Gallery’s director, Doreen Sibanda was the commissioner for Venice.

* On Saturday, February 20 at 12.00 there will be a question and answer session at the gallery with the curator, Raphael Chikukwa and visiting artists.