At the Gallery
The Zimbabwe Annual Art Exhibition returns this year, featuring new artworks from emerging, mature and reputable artists within the borders of Zimbabwe and the diaspora.
The theme for this year’s edition is “Blood Relatives”. The Zimbabwe Annual Art Exhibition has over the past, provided curatorial based themes in a bid to stimulate the best reinterpretation through a diverse range of media and technique.
The Zimbabwe Annual Art Exhibition opens on December 13, 2018.
Blood Relatives is an intensive examination of social capital and how it has been lost or reclaimed in this heavily globalised habitat, cue Hwati’s series of prints entitled “Urban Totems” wherein the model, an emblematic young African, is bedazzled at the eyes by all sorts of commercial brands, identifies with them and has no footing or homing of the self. Arguably the aspect of identification or association with something has become a disturbing norm – the rise of the troll on social media and in real life, the shadow of the second life.
The publication of personal experience in the second life, or the interactive one, for example, has largely led to a phenomenon that has led to statements such as “Zimbabweans poke fun at everything”; an unnerving endgame within all this being concise, other people just do not matter!
The combination of any discrediting of matter as nothing would be the main focus for the breakdown in social capital, the rise of the esoteric ministry has led to the abandonment of the most basic gemeinschaft in local culture – the totem, that which curbed in-breeding and increased blood ties and across tribal lines promoted sonority, fraternity, rooted paternity and enriched maternity. Blood Relatives investigates this fixedly; the usurpation of the intrinsic by extrusive, the implosion of the family structure, the violation of the individual at the hand of shifts in global philosophy. All this shall be exhaustively explored and interpreted in Blood Relatives.
The exhibition will be open to the public as from December 14, 2018, running until February 11, 2019. An Artist Talk will take place on December 14 while a Curatorial Walkabout will take place on January 9, 2019.
A session of the Harare Conversations focused on the exhibition will wrap up the public programmes on January 10, 2019.
About the curator
Raphael Chikukwa was born in Zimbabwe and worked mainly as an independent curator for many years before joining the National Gallery of Zimbabwe mid-2010 as its chief curator. He is the founding Zimbabwe Pavilion curator in 2010-2011 and curated the 1st and 2nd Zimbabwe Pavilion in 2011 and 2013 at the 54th and 55th Venice Biennale respectively.
Chikukwa recently curated Basket Case II, a travelling exhibition. He has taken part in a number of forums that include, ICI Curatorial Intensive in Addis Ababa 2014, Future Generation Art Prize Committee 2014 and Johannesburg Art Fair 2013 (SA).
Chikukwa is also the founding coordinator of the 1st Zimbabwe Curatorial Workshop and Forum and has also contributed to a number of journals and catalogues that include, African Identities Journal, Savvy, and Art South Africa etc. He is a 2006-2007 Chevening Scholar and holds an MA Curating Contemporary Design from Kingston University, London.
About the Zimbabwe Annual Art Exhibition
The Federal Annual Exhibition was established in 1958 and has gone through many iterations. After 1963 it was renamed the National Annual Exhibition following the dismantling of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland.
The Annual Exhibition ran consecutively until 1973 with the departure of the National Gallery’s first director, Frank McEwen, then under subsequent directors until 1986 when it was branded Zimbabwe Heritage Exhibition. At the beginning of the new millennium, the exhibition changed its format to the Zimbabwe Heritage Biennale, under the burden of economic challenges that stood rampant at the time, taking a break after 2004.
The Annual Exhibition was revisited in 2009 as the Live n’ Direct Exhibition and finally reclaimed its annual format as from 2014. This will be the 41st cycle of the annual exhibition in all its formats, making it the oldest art event in Zimbabwe.