Kudzanai Chiurai, Genesis [Je n’isi isi] VII, 2016, Courtesy of the artist and the Goodman Gallery / Owner

Kudzanai Chiurai: Genesis [Je n’isi isi] – We Live in Silence

ifa Gallery Stuttgart | 01.02.2019 – 23.03.2019

Exhibition | Kudzanai Chiurai creates large tableaus with remarkable vitality. In them, he explores the history of Africa and colonial legacies. To this day, African societies, history and politics are shaped by colonialism. This process began with the onset of the early modern age, and was then driven by the political protagonists of the nineteenth century and the Victorian age, who saw geography, trade, settlement policy, and missionary work all in the service of an imperial idea.

Kudzanai Chiurai was born in Harare, Zimbabwe. In photo series like Genesis [Je n’isi isi] he addresses African heritage, referring to travel reports and tales by the Scottish missionary and Africa explorer David Livingstone (Blantyre 1813–Chitambo 1873), the first white European to travel through large parts of South Africa and famous for his “discovery” of the Victoria Falls. His popularity in the United Kingdom made him an emblematic figure of the explorer paving the way for colonialism. Kudzanai Chiurai’s photographic reenactments present various scenes from Livingstone’s travels, but with new people. The character of the European explorer is confronted with protagonists from African history. In this way Kudzanai Chiurai places his own history alongside the traditional European narrative.

In his film We Live in Silence, Kudzanai Chiurai also addresses forms of alternative memory. Motifs from films and art history are collaged and overlapped, and archive material from anthropology combines with images from contemporary history from the media. These scenes are played by actors and performers, creating the images of an alternative memory and also visions for the future in Kudzanai Chiurai’s work.

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