Art appreciation

The duo Zim prepare for a “transhistorical” art exhibition at the Venice Biennale

By personal writer

Two Zimbabwean artists, Portia Zvavahera and Kudzanai-Violet Hwami, have been nominated among 213 artists to participate in this year’s edition of the Venice Biennale, the world’s largest art exhibition.

The artists, from 58 countries around the world, will participate in the exhibition which will take place from April 23 to November 27 in Italy. Among these 213 artists, 180 of them have never been presented at the Venice Biennale.

Zvavahera, an oil painter, is currently based in Harare. Between 2003 and 2005, she studied at the National Gallery BAT Workshop School (now the National Gallery School of Visual Art and Design) and in 2006 she graduated with a degree in visual arts from Harare Polytechnic.

Zvavahera made her Biennale debut in 2013.

Hwami is also an oil on canvas painter. She lives and works in London and this will be her second appearance at the Venice Biennale, the first being in 2019. Last year she made a prestigious list of artists to collect, selected by the prestigious Christie’s.


Kudzanai-Violet Hwami

Christie’s is a British auction house founded in 1766 by James Christie.

National Gallery of Zimbabwe (NGZ) Executive Director Raphael Chikukwa praised the two artists “for raising our Zimbabwean flag high” and that “we must be proud of ourselves as Zimbabwe for having our artists at this important exposure”.

“It is in the interest of the NGZ to create platforms for local artists, not only here in Zimbabwe, but also on bigger platforms outside of Zimbabwe. For them, being selected for this great and important exhibition in the main exhibition of the 59th edition of the Venice Biennale is certainly something to celebrate. I would also like to say to other artists, the sky is the limit,” Chikukwa said. IndependentXtra Wednesday.

“Since our first appearance at the Biennale in 2011, we have never looked back. This shows that there is great talent out there that needs to be continually nurtured and appreciated by local businesses, collectors and government departments, because before we know it, some of these artists’ works will become permanent collections across Europe and America. In fact, Zimbabwe over the past 10 years has become a quiet global arts destination and it is high time to claim our position. We cannot keep turning a blind eye when we have such talent that comes from our great country.

“To the gallery owners who represent these two artists, our congratulations to you too. Your eye on our artists means a lot to us and let’s celebrate together as we are all part of this global art scene.

He added that “good work speaks for itself and to the curator of the Venice Biennale, let me say that our Zimbabwean artists will not disappoint.”

The Biennale is this year organized by Cecilia Alemani, director and chief curator of High Line Art in New York. Her show is called “The Milk of Dreams”, her name refers to a series of drawings that were later turned into a children’s book by surrealist artist Leonora Carrington.

Alemani said ART news that the exhibition will revolve around three distinct fields of investigation: “the representation of bodies and their metamorphoses; the relationship between people and technologies; the connection between the bodies and the Earth”. The exhibition will include more than 1,000 works.

Alemani called his Biennale “a transhistorical exhibition, creating a dialogue between the present and the past and creating a dialogue between histories of exclusion”. These capsules will include loans from various collectors and institutions, including Armónia de Remedios Varo (Autoretrato Surgente)1956, which was purchased by Eduardo F Costantini for a record US$6.19 million in 2020. Throughout the show, and particularly in the “capsules,” the focus will be on surrealism by women and gender-nonconforming performers. .

Like many major art events, however, the Venice Biennale has faced pandemic-related challenges – this year’s edition was originally scheduled to take place in 2021, but has been postponed for a full year. When this delay was announced in 2020, Alemani made it clear that she did not want to organize what she called “the coronavirus biennale”.