The Most Beautiful Boogey Man
In his barbed, theatrical multimedia compositions, Kudzanai Chiurai tackles the most pertinent issues facing his generation of southern Africans, from government corruption to xenophobia and displacement. An exile from Zimbabwe (after producing an unflattering portrait of Robert Mugabe) and the first black recipient of a BFA from the University of Pretoria in South Africa, Chiurai mines the words and images of inner city Johannesburg—his current home—to produce bold paintings that confront the viewer with explicit messages about black empowerment and urban rejuvenation. He has also made more directly political works, as in his recent “Dying To Be Men” (2009), a series of garish mock portrait photographs of government officials. An increasingly important figure in African art, Chiurai has expanded his activist enterprise to the realms of fashion, publishing, and music.
Zimbabwean, b. 1981, based in Johannesburg, South Africa