Gwanza Arts in conjunction with the National Gallery of Zimbabwe (NGZ) recently officially opened the eighth edition of the annual Gwanza Month of Photography, which is currently running under the theme “Pimp my Combi”.
In addition to the main exhibition, Gwanza 2011 includes a public programme developed in partnership with the British Council that has so far seen the launch of Bulawayo Conversations on July 26 at NGZ Bulawayo while Harare Conversations takes place at NGZ Harare on Saturda, alongside workshops and portfolio reviews.
Under the theme “Pimp my Combi”, which was coined by NGZ curator Raphael Chikukwa, the eighth Gwanza edition presents 14 photographers and artists selected by London-based curator Christine Eyene.
“The theme proposes to explore, the kombi or minibus as a marker of vernacular aesthetics and cultural codes, as well as a vehicle defining both urban landscape and social space throughout Africa,” said Chikukwa.
Chikukwa said this year’s selection had paid close attention to documentary relevance, technical quality and aesthetic value of the work submitted by local photographers who have shown great creativity and originality in their approach to the theme.
He said the selected photographers and artists for this edition included Berry Bickle, Christopher Hunt, Angela Jimu, Mbali Khoza, Remmy Marimo, Anne Mpalume, Nancy Mteki, Bethule Nkiwane, Believe Nyakudjara, Resta Nyamwanza, Nyadzombe Nyempenza, and Zinyange Ruzvidzo.
“Also featured are US-based Zimbabwean installation artist, Chido Johnson and South African video artist, Breeze Yoko,” said Chikukwa.
He said some photographs from Gwanza 2011 would be showcased on October 7 at the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris, France, as part of a broader programme titled “The Studio and The World”, in conjunction with “Photoquai – Biennial of World Images” co-curated by Christine Eyene.
Chikukwa said for the first time, Gwanza would be followed up by a more comprehensive exhibition at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe in January 2012, featuring visual artists and photographers from across the African continent.
He said the exhibition was this year being supported by the NGZ, British Council, Culture Fund, Hivos, Spanish Embassy and the Cuban Embassy.
Founded in 2003 by acclaimed Zimbabwean photographer Calvin Dondo, Gwanza Arts is an organisation dedicated to the development and promotion of photography.
Gwanza hosts the biggest annual photography exhibition in Zimbabwe and provides a platform for interaction between local and international photographers.