Yeukai Karengezeka Arts Correspondent
A new local contemporary photography book by Calvin Dondo titled “Hodhii Zimbabwe” has been published.
Research reveals there are a few photo-books from Zimbabwe with a handful of safari books that observe the unique natural riches of fauna and flora, and only a couple of archival photo exhibitions are worth mentioning.
Dondo said lack of coverage on some Shona and Ndebele visual arts made him to come up with the book.
“There is little that reflects on some deserving catalogues on Shona sculpture or Ndebele wood-carvings or other visual arts alike, there is hardly any trace of image collections published from Zimbabwe. Yet, the nation holds arts and culture in high regard, almost by default.”
The book title also takes its name from an age old royal trading settlement (Great Zimbabwe) and it proudly heralds a stone sculpture in its flag.
“This book is a knock on the door of a stone house, a calling to open up and discover its inner mirror, an urge to show itself to the world and find more authentic rhetoric,” he said.
Dondo born in 1963, is an established artist and curator.
He studied photography at Harare Polytechnic from 1985 to 1988 and his work as a freelance photographer has been published in various local and international publications.
He has won a number of awards including the Sonderpreis (“special prize” in 2001) of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and the Seydou Keita Prize (Grand Prize at Bamako in 2007).
By 2000 Dondo established and supported “Gwanza” which trains local emerging photographers.
This contemporary photographic platform has promoted reflection on the role of this medium in the society and encouraged many young artists to explore the discipline and to develop their gaze.
It was able to give a voice to all manner of African photographer and raise the bar of the medium.
With Gwanza, Calvin also developed the “Month of Photography”, which still brings extraordinary photographers from Southern Africa to Zimbabwe every year.
His photographs are displayed at exhibitions in Austria, Belgium, Benin, Burkina Faso, Canada, China, England, France, Italy, Japan, Namibia, the Netherlands, Norway, Senegal, Spain, South Africa and the United States.
In 2011, he represented Zimbabwe at the 54th Venice Biennale and has exhibited his works in famous manifestations such as the Havana Biennale, Paris Photo and multiple times at Bamako (African Photography Biennale) and in institutions as the Museum of Contemporary Art (Detroit), Yokahoma Museum of Modern Art (Japan), Manchester City Art Gallery, Salzburg Modern Art Museum and the Centre for Contemporary Art in Barcelona.