National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe 09 Nov 2017 - 10 Dec 2017
Kudzanai Chiurai, Genesis [Je n'isi isi] IV, 2016. Courtesy National Gallery of Zimbabwe.
We Need New Names is Kudzanai Chiurai’s first solo exhibition in his home country, hosted by the National Gallery of Zimbabwe. Following on the heels of his solo exhibition We Live in Silence at Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, in which the artist considered themes of post-colonialism and colonial futures, Chiurai poses the question ‘what next?’ 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 assimilation into Western cultures.
Tracing the trajectory of 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. Internal conflict in Zimbabwe’s liberation camps and negotiations all found a voice in music and pirate radio stations that broadcast these audio recordings. It also expressed the changes that were taking place, introduced new names leading the struggle, and celebrated those who had lost their lives. Chiurai therefore highlights the importance of music in Zimbabwe’s independence struggle, as a crucial avenue for resistance and communication.
Curated by Candice Allison, the exhibition includes recent and previously unseen work: photographic prints, drawings, oil paintings, video, and installation; alongside paintings from the National Gallery of Zimbabwe’s permanent collection, material from the National Archives, and Chiurai’s own personal archive of propaganda posters and vinyl records.
Continuing the artist’s legacy of collaboration, the Pan African Space Station live radio studio will land at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe during the first week of the exhibition. The PASS Popup is programmed and curated by Chimurenga as an experiment in speaking, listening, collaborating and community; as a performance and exhibition space; and as a research platform and living archive. The PASS Harare sessions will bring together a broad spectrum of local artists, performers, writers and musicians, to participate through conversations, performances and happenings that provoke us to rethink about our histories and to speculate on our futures through artistic and cultural practice.
The PASS Popup is supported by an ANT Funding Grant from Pro Helvetia Johannesburg financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).
About the artist
Kudzanai Chiurai was born in 1981 in Harare, Zimbabwe where he currently lives and works. He completed a BA Fine Arts degree from the University of Pretoria (2005) and remained resident in South Africa for several years where he held numerous solo exhibitions with Goodman Gallery, accompanied by publications he co-edited with leading African thinkers and creatives. Notable international exhibitions include The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Purgatory and Hell Revisited curated by Simon Njami at Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt (2014) and SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah USA (2015); Impressions from South Africa, 1965 toNow at the Museum of Modern Art in New York (2011), which acquired Chiurai’s work for their collection; and Figures & Fictions: Contemporary South African Photography at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London (2011). His Conflict Resolution series was included in dOCUMENTA (13) in Kassel in 2012, and his film Iyeza was included in the New Frontier shorts programme at the Sundance Film Festival in 2013. He was awarded the FNB Artist of the Year prize in South Africa (2012).