Venice Biennale 2019
Zimbabwe Pavilion Announced Participating Artists and Title
The International Exhibition of Art at the Venice Biennale will open to art lovers from all over the world on the 11th of May 2019. Zimbabwe will take part for a 5th time and will be represented by Kudzanai-Violet Hwami, Neville Starling, Georgina Maxim, and Cosmas Shiridzinomwa.
Over the past nine years, the Zimbabwe Pavilion has not only developed the artistic careers of Zimbabwean artists, but has become the most consistent participant among the African Pavilions present at the Biennale. The artists Kudzanai-Violet Hwami, Neville Starling, Georgina Maxim, and Cosmas Shiridzinomwa will represent Zimbabwe in 2019.
The exhibition “Soko Risina Musoro,” takes its name from a poem by Zimbabwean writer Herbert Chitepo and speaks to the current histories and the human experience across the globe. Raphael Chikukwa, chief curator at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe and curator of the Zimbabwe Pavilion, stated that in the age of fake news, vigilance is the only tool to protect our unique story. “Soko Risina Musoro is an epic poem by Herbert Chitepo which reflects the Zimbabwean interpretation of the overarching theme ‚May You Live in Interesting Times‘ in that we, as people with memory, can map out a future by taking threats head on.”
The Commissioner of the Zimbabwe Pavilion and executive director of the National Gallery, Doreen Sibanda said “the Zimbabwe Pavilion at Venice has been instrumental in inserting the footprint of the country consistently into global conversations about Contemporary Art. ” Sibanda emphasized that over the last editions, there has been a top notch deliverance by selected artists. “Each and every artist has given their best and created work of great depth and understanding, and therein ties our strength.”
Neville Starling is a self-taught artist, born 1988 in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Motivated by his father’s windows of changed personality due to Alzheimer’s disease, Starling deconstructs time’s relationship with memory both individually and collectively. He examines notions of change; the connection between future thinking and our learning faculty; the processes of forced and chosen memories; as well as the interplay of reality and perception with memory, and how these are interwoven within the continuum of identity. Starling works in a variety of mediums, with a focus on photography,
Kudzanai-Violet Hwami was born in Gutu, Zimbabwe in 1993, lived in South Africa and is currently based in the UK. Hwami’s courageous and tender oil paintings reveal a deeply personal vision of Southern African life. The artist’s vivid work raises issues surrounding diaspora, displacement and identity. Her process involves experimenting with photography and digitally collaged images, using these to create large works on paper or canvas with intensely pigmented oil paint, and often incorporating other media and techniques, such as silkscreen, pastel or charcoal.
Georgina Maxim was born 1980 in Harare, Zimbabwe. Maxim is known for both working as artist and curator with over a decade of arts management and curatorial practice. Together with Misheck Masamvu Maxime co-founded Village Unhu in 2012, an artist collective space that has been providing studio spaces, exhibitions, workshops and residency programs for artists – young and professional. As an artist, Maxim’s work combines weaving, stitch work and the utilisation of found textiles creating objects that evade definition.
Cosmas Shiridzinomwa was born in Harare, Zimbabwe. His early themes range from his personal life’s highlights, social scenes and of late national and international politics.