BY NYADZOMBE NYAMPENZA
LOCAL visual artist Prudence Chimutuwah is heading to South Africa for artist residency at Greatmore Studios, located in the Woodstock suburb of Cape Town from November 1 to 31.
This was after she came second at the Masked Exhibition and International Coverage for her paintings that incorporate decommissioned Zimbabwean bank notes.
Greatmore Studios was established in 1998 to provide artists with scarce studio space.
It is currently operating in partnership with art Harare, which is running an artist incubation programme that seeks to promote emerging visual artists by extending their perspective, and enlarging their network.
The residency programme is designed to stimulate artists’ creativity as well as challenge them to expand their practice.
Artist residencies are a great way to assist art practitioners from diverse backgrounds.
They provide a stress-free environment for an artist to experiment with new ideas, materials and approaches.
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During the residency, artists are expected to interact with other artists, do presentations, participate in outreach programmes, and put up an exhibition in Greatmore’s gallery space at the end of their stay.
Chimutuwah told NewsDay Life & Style that she was expecting to gain exposure and network with other artists and gallerists during her stay in Mzansi.
“This residency opportunity opens up a new art environment outside my local art scene in Zimbabwe.
“It is also an opportunity for me to network with other artists, gallerists and collectors,” she said.
She said her husband was very supportive of her career.
“At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic I was greatly affected because I had to manage taking care of the kids and working since they were home full time,” she said.
“With regards to work, everything was closed and I had to be on hold for a while trying to find out how best to market and sell my work.”
Chimutuwah works with acrylic paint, collage and vanish on canvas.
Her major themes are social, political and economic issues portrayed through women’s lived experiences.
The education of women (often symbolised by the graduation cap), is a recurring subject in her work.
In Her Protector, a towering male shadow stands ominously over a seated young woman who is reading a book.
The title questions the authority of the male figure and his intentions.
In a series titled Tsapo, she highlights the extra burdens women are saddled with, which hinder progress in different areas of their lives.
Her Dancer series reveals an innate grace with which women navigate their way through the vicissitudes of life. The artworks are a feast of delightful colours that make any topic palatable.
Given her growing practice Chimutuwah’s work can be found in the collections of Rele Arts Foundation, Africa First, and Netherlands Embassy.
Her work is also steadily finding its way into many local and international private collections.
She recently participated in a group show at London’s Peter Harrington Gallery. With a supportive husband who is also a successful artist, the mother of three says her two younger children are now old enough to afford her time for the month-long sojourn at Greatmore Studios.
Many Zimbabwean artists have taken residency at Greatmore Studios in the past.
These include Virginia Chihota, Misheck Masamvu, Wallen Mapondera, Wycliff Mundopa, Motsaf Muchawaya, Ronald Muchatuta, Mercy Moyo, Victor Nyakauru and Mukudzei Muzondo.
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