Chikukwa appointed new curator for Arts Gallery


The National Arts Gallery in Harare has announced the appointment of Raphael Chikukwa as its curator following the departure of Heeten Bhagat, in a move that is set to make Zimbabwean art more visible on the global arena.
In a statement released following the appointment, the National Arts Gallery said it hoped there would be “new and better exhibitions” as Chikukwa was a critical thinker with bigger projects lined up and his wide international network would be beneficial.
Chikukwa was saying: “Joining the National Gallery of Zimbabwe means a lot to me, first and foremost, I am a proud Zimbabwean whose passion is to see and contribute to the Zimbabwean contemporary art and curatorial practice.”
He added that under his leadership, the gallery would engage all stakeholders in the arts industry in order to achieve their dream.
“For the business community, the art community, media, our board members, Friends Of the Gallery (Fog), politicians, our general audience, NGOs, embassies, schools, universities and our emerging artists, the National Gallery of Zimbabwe is willing to engage with all of you,” he said.
Chikukwa, who holds an MA Curating in Contemporary Design from Kingston University in London and was awarded a British Council Chevening Scholarship in 2006 – 2007, is keen to see Zimbabwe reclaim its position on the global arts stage.
The deputy director of the National Arts Gallery of Zimbabwe, Tapfuma Gutsa said Chikukwa’s arrival added a new dimension to their work.
“We have a new, dynamic leader in place and sooner or later, our team will become more complete to take the visual arts to new heights,” he said.
Chikukwa has a solid profile in the industry courtesy of his curatorial experience. He is a scholar/fellow at Kingston University studying for a PhD in Curation of International Contemporary Art.
He was awarded a curatorial travel grant in 2006 by the American Centre Foundation, when he travelled to West Africa in 2008.
That same year, he was part of the Art Basel Miami Conversations and he co-organised a research visit by a Nigerian Artist/Curator Ozioma Onzulike to UK with Visiting Arts in 2008.
He was also involved with Kingston University in co-organising an African curatorial visit to London through Kingston Project Africa.
He is a founding member and adviser for Creative Africa Network.
Chikukwa has held a number of exhibitions in Zimbabwe and in the UK as an independent curator.
Some of the major exhibitions include the Harare International Festival of the Arts exhibitions between 2000 and 2004, Visions of Zimbabwe at the Manchester Art Gallery 2004 and African Heroes Imperial War Museum North 2006.