Zimbabwean Artist to Exhibit At the Nagn

The National Art Gallery of Namibia (NAGN) will host an exhibition by Zimbabwean artist Chikonzero (Chiko) Chazunguza, titled ‘IMINDIMIIVO-IVONDIVOIMI’ (They are you-you are they).

The exhibition will open on Wednesday, 7 May in the NAGN foyer at 18h00. Chiko who since 2009 has live in Canada, is in Namibia doing a residence at the John Muafangejo Arts Centre (JMAC). A self professed provocateur, his multimedia artworks raise searching questions about the post-colonial condition and about the unstable role and nature of art in its post-colonial context. Amongst his most compelling works are those that reinstate for the viewer a sense of ritual order and of life’s deeper mysteries, alongside proffering incisive, yet subtle social analysis. In this style he could easily be labelled an ethno-modernist.

Chiko was born and raised in Harare, Zimbabwe. In 1987, he won a scholarship to study at the Institute of Pictorial Arts in Sofia, Bulgaria, where he earned his MFA and was trained in the classical modes of printmaking, drawing and painting. He spent seven years in Bulgaria witnessing how the country was going through major changes. In 1994 he returned to Zimbabwe with the aim of merging his modern European training with indigenous Zimbabwean art.

“My style is symbolic and illustrative,” says Chiko. “The use of historic images in my work highlight the cultural identity and heritage of our people.”

Asked whether art makes a contribution to society, Chiko says “The visual arts don’t affect most people. If you’re an artist there are a lot of things you have to clarify to be whole in yourself and you can heighten your awareness. This is what art is about. It’s not to hang on the wall but to sharpen your awareness to such an extent that you can draw from life so much more. If that’s not the case I don’t know why one is an artist.”

In Zimbabwe, Chiko was active in many different areas including teaching art for more than 15 years at different universities and colleges. He functioned as Assistant Director at the Zimbabwe Institute of Visual Arts and Head of the Art Department at Harare Polytechnic College. Furthermore he functioned as adjudicator for different institutions including the National Gallery in Zimbabwe and the NAGN. Chiko also coordinated and facilitated numerous workshops and festivals and was the art director of several short films.

The exhibition runs until 26 May. Entrance is free.

Source : The Namibian