The first solo exhibition by Zimbabwean artist Kudzanai-Violet Hwami opens at Vauxhall’s Gasworks gallery this week.
(15,952km) via Trans-Sahara Hwy N1, runs from 19 September to 15 December and admission is free.
The London-based artist was born in Zimbabwe and left her homeland at the age of nine amidst political turmoil.
Drawing on personal experiences of geographical dislocation and displacement, Hwami’s intensely pigmented paintings combine visual fragments from a myriad of sources, including images found online and haunting family photographs, as a way to collapse past and present into bold afro-futuristic visions.
Hwami’s work bears testimony to diasporic life, migration and resilience. Her portraits are a celebration of black bodies and a powerful manifestation of queer joy, while also raising questions about gender, spirituality and the conditions of representation for marginalised communities.
Often taking intricate and layered digital collages produced on a tablet as a point of departure for large-scale canvases, Hwami reflects on the role that online communication and different forms of technological mediation have in the everyday life of diasporic subjects.
After representing Zimbabwe at the 58th Venice Biennale, the artist has developed her most ambitious body of work to date, a newly-commissioned series of paintings that explore black self-fashioning as well as deeply personal experiences of uprooting and regrounding. Bold and tender, Hwami’s portraits interweave memory, testimony, imagination and the political longing for a truer world.
Kudzanai-Violet Hwami’s exhibition is commissioned and produced by Gasworks, where she has been a studio holder since August 2018, and generously supported by Tyburn Gallery.
More details can be found on Gasworks’ website.
Feature image: Bira, 2019. Commissioned by Gasworks. Courtesy of the artist and Tyburn Gallery. Photo: Andy Keate.