Zimbabwe Pavilion at the 55th International Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia 2013
Dudziro: Interrogating the Visions of Religious Beliefs
National Gallery of Zimbabwe
Commissioner: Doreen Sibanda, Curator: Raphael Chikukwa
Opening 28 August 2014, 5:30 pm
In 2013 Zimbabwe once again returned to Venice, Italy for the 55th Venice Biennale. The second edition of Zimbabwe Pavilion’s curatorial theme identified for the exhibition was entitled DUDZIRO: Interrogating the visions of religious beliefs and the Curator’s research into the impact of Religion on the society. His theme related to the bigger Venice Biennale 2013 theme “The Encyclopedic Palace” developed by the Curator, Massimiliano Gioni. He said, “The Encyclopedic Palace is an imaginary museum that was meant to house all worldly knowledge, bridging together the greatest discoveries of the human race from the wheel to the satellite.” The theme spoke to an idea of imagination that the artists help the people to interrogate.
For the 2013 Zimbabwe Pavilion in Venice in Venice were selected five artists who represent the dynamic nature of Zimbabwe and more importantly demonstrate the vibrancy of the visual art scene from a Zimbabwean perspective within Zimbabwe as well as the rest of Africa: Voti Thebe, Rashid Jogee, Virginia Chihota, Portia Zvavahera and Michele Mathison.
Dudziro: Interrogating the Vision of Religious Beliefs was the banner under which Visual Artists Voti Thebe, Virginia Chihota, Rashid Jogee, Portia Zvavahera and Michele Mathison worked under or around this concept with bodies of work which made varied yet distinct affirmations of the common spirit that resounded Zimbabwean outlook on socio-religious grounds. Beyond that the Zimbabwe Pavilion served as a first-hand account to a global community that is deeply imbued with the notion of Zimbabwe being some pariah settlement on the other side of the world, sadly guided by tabloid based information to a great extent but with the work that was on show at least 60 000 viewers came face to face with a representation of a cultured nation that interrogates their surroundings in an expressive way through art.
Image: Portia Zvavahera. Courtesy National Gallery of Zimbabwe