Mariane Ibrahim Gallery is pleased to present We Live in Silence, a solo exhibition of new works from Zimbabwean artist Kudzanai Chiurai. Running from September 13 until October 29, the exhibition presents the final moment of a longstanding trilogy from the artist, recounting narratives from past, present, and future colonies.
Drawing from the previous series - Revelations (2011) and Genesis [Je n'isi isi] (2016) - as well as Mauritanian director Med Hondo’s seminal piece of cinema Soleil O (1969), the film-based works present an introspective journey into colonialism at the dawn of independence.
Incorporating religious and populist iconography, Chiurai’s work emancipates symbols from pre-existing propagandist values - previously used to serve and democratize colonialism and racism - to re-stage a Black experience indoctrinated by religious fundamentalism and political corruptions. This re-appropriation of codified aesthetics works to create an uneasy environment which compels the viewer to become less an observer, more a participant, within the space.
Referencing Med Hondo's cinematic masterpiece, Chiurai’s intersecting narrative positions race and colonization against the backdrop of migration, religion, and gender. The film presents a compelling narrative and visceral imagery of "colonial futures,” with Chiurai particularly revisiting the contributions made by women in early post-colonial struggles. Within the works, Chiurai reflects on the role of Nationalist figures in the emancipation of women during liberation, and the statement by revolutionary Thomas Sankara that ”There is no true social revolution without the liberation of women.”
Within We Live in Silence, Chiurai intentionally presents ideas which blur the lines between past, present, and future. Immersing the viewer into a non-linear experience of being, the artist employs this trans-generational perspective to explore the persisting effects of colonial dominance. Here his black protagonists dissolve their inferiority by enslaving and enchaining the ‘other’, to satisfy a dominant stature.
The exhibition is accompanied by an opening reception on Thursday, September 13 from 6-8 pm.
About the artist
Kudzanai Chiurai was born in 1981 in Harare, Zimbabwe where he currently lives and works. His work is focused on tracing the trajectory of political, economic and social conditions in his homeland from colonialism and independence, to the present day.
Chiurai completed a BA Fine Arts degree from the University of Pretoria (2005) and remained resident in South Africa for several years where he held numerous solo exhibitions with Goodman Gallery, accompanied by publications co-edited with leading African thinkers and creatives.
Notable international exhibitions include The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Purgatory and Hell Revisited curated by Simon Njami at Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt (2014) and SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah USA (2015); Impressions from South Africa, 1965 to Now at the Museum of Modern Art in New York (2011) and Figures & Fictions: Contemporary South African Photography at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London (2011). His Conflict Resolution series was included in dOCUMENTA (13) in Kassel in 2012, and his film Iyeza was included in the New Frontier shorts programme at the Sundance Film Festival in 2013. He was awarded the FNB Artist of the Year prize in South Africa (2012).
His work is housed in the permanent collections of international museums including the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, Cape Town and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.