Nothando Chiwanga

Nothando Chiwanga

Reflections, 2018, photograph
Trapped, 2018, photograph
An Act, 2019, photograph
Zvokudya (Food), 2020, photograph

JingLü Gallery 、TheCube Project Space

Dealing with a wide range of themes, these works represent Nothando Chiwanga’s performance and photographic practice. Reflections shows an almost deserted kombi rank (commuter van stop) in Harare, a rare occurrence before the COVID-19 related lockdown, and is quite prophetic of the ghost city Harare has become during the pandemic. Beyond this, it reveals the poor maintenance of the majority of the city, which is usually obscured by the constant throng of people. Trapped addresses the historical suppression of black women. An Act and Zvokudya (Food) are, by extension, a commentary on the need to counterbalance rising unemployment and poverty with education—issues that have been exacerbated by the global pandemic. In a nation where we do not ask enough questions, the national and municipal government systems have taught us to be resilient. We are constantly negotiating ourselves into situations that lead us to suppressing our emotions instead of expressing them.

There is a haunting beauty to Chiwanga’s portrayal of life in Harare, and in Zimbabwe more general. The city is named after a chief of the Seke area in the 1890s, Chief Neharawa, whose nickname was Harari, which translates as “he never sleeps” and has come to embody the essence of the city. There is movement everywhere in Harare, at any given time. An incessant rush of people and traffic jams have come to characterize the city. Chiwanga’s works in the exhibition speak about the complications of being Hararian: bodies are in a constant state of motion to survive in a city that is divided along the lines of lack and privilege.

                                                                                                                                          -Curator |Fadzai Veronica Muchemwa

Nothando Chiwanga

(b. 1997, Harare, Zimbabwe; based in Harare) An upcoming visual artist based in Harare, Zimbabwe. Currently studying at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe school of visual arts and design. She has participated in various workshops like the Realism by John Kotze, art ethics by Julius Mushambadope, performance art by Sithembile Msazane. She has participated in the tavatose art competition in 2013 and she was awarded with a first prize. Recently, she has exhibited in the new signature exhibition at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe in 2019.

Curator : Fadzai Veronica Muchemwa

Fadzai Veronica Muchemwa is a researcher, writer and curator from Harare, Zimbabwe. Currently, she is a Masters researcher in the Arts of Africa and Global Souths research programme in the Fine Art Department at Rhodes University. Her research explores new communities of protest and transgression, histories of cities, topographies of knowledge production and sites of transition. She was Curator for Education and Public Programming at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe from 2017- 2020, and Assistant Curator from 2016- 2017, where she co-curated Moulding a Nation: The History of the Ceramics Collection of the National Gallery of Zimbabwe (2018–2019), Dis (colour)ed Margins (2017), Culture in Communities (2016), and Jazzified: Expressions of Protest (2016). In addition, she curated The Unseen: Creatures of Myth and Legend (Lusaka National Museum, 2018), an exhibition of artworks by Isaac Kalambata. As visiting curator at the Bag Factory in Johannesburg in 2019, she produced the publication Curating Johannesburg: rest.less, under siege/in transition. Muchemwa is a 2017 fellow of the International Training Program at the British Museum. She is a collaborator for Independent Curators International and the Zimbabwe Pavilion at the International Art Exhibition in Venice.

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