In her first solo institutional show, London-based Zimbabwean-born painter Kudzanai-Violet Hwami presented a series of works reimagining her country of birth. Spread across two rooms in London’s Gasworks, the exhibition seeks out the spirit of home, after her first trip back to her native land as an adult, with acute attention to the gaps emerging from the prolonged spatio-temporal rupture of diasporic experience. Of the many moments that can be reflected upon to understand Zimbabwe, Hwami focuses on those concerning celebration, the quotidian of family life, the fluidity of dream space, and the preparations for, and enactments of, ritual practice. The works presented speak to spiritual encounters and how personal and family histories can be enmeshed, co-opted and denied to support national and historical narratives, both those of the colonial regime (1889–1965) and the fabulations of post-colonial politics. The paintings open up dialogues between various archives: of the family, those aligned with the activities and agendas of the colonial administration, and the rapidly generated and shared digital images of social media. Through these dialogues, the boundaries of self are up for question.
Image: Kudzanai-Violet Hwami, (15,952km) via Trans-Sahara Hwy N1, 2019 Installation view, Gasworks
Photograph: Andy Keate
Commissioned by Gasworks
Courtesy the artist