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Portia Zvavahera

Portia Zvavahera

Dreaming in Shona

By (author) Tamar Garb
By (author) Sinazo Chiya
By (author) Tandazani Dhlakama
By (author) Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela
By (author) Fiona Bradley
By (author) Andrew Nairne


Publishing 22nd Oct 2024
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    • A selection of striking images and large details throughout the book, capturing the unique techniques used by the artist
    • Designed to evoke paintings complex surfaces, using high quality reproduction and specialist papers and finishes to encourage engagement from readers
    • Major new texts by writers and critical thinkers of southern African heritage centering the book close to the artist and her work
    • Published to accompany exhibitions at Kettle’s Yard 22 October 2024 – 16 February 2025 and Fruitmarket, Edinburgh, 1 March – 25 May 2025
    Full Description

    Portia Zvavahera is one of the outstanding artists of her generation. Born in Harare, Zimbabwe in 1985, she has developed a unique combination of print/painting techniques to register a private world of dreams, fantasies and figural constructions. She received her art education in Zimbabwe in the early 2000s, and has become recognised in the past decade as one of the foremost representatives of African figuration, showcased at the Venice Biennale in 2022, and in a number of commercial gallery exhibitions in South Africa, the US and the UK. She has not yet had a solo show in a public museum in Europe. 

    This new publication accompanies a major exhibition, curated by Tamar Garb, which will include reproductions of brand new works created on the occasion of this exhibition alongside a selection of recent and older paintings which reveal the depth and richness of Zvavahera’s practice. The focus will be on the theme of dreams, fantasy and figuration, and large details will highlight Zvavahera’s innovative amalgamation of printmaking and painting techniques that build rich surfaces to create her private cosmology of creatures and contexts.

    The book will feature a significant new essay from curator Tamar Garb and will centre around an extensive conversation between Garb, Sinazo Chiya, Tandazani Dhlakama and Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela discussing Zvavahera’s engagement with eros, intimacy and female-centred experience.

    The book will open up how Zvavahera’s works emerge from dreams; being figurative without being illustrative, registering a world of feminine experience and fantasy.

    About the Author

    Professor Tamar Garb is Durning Professor in the History of Art at UCL. She has published widely on questions of gender and sexuality in Modern and Contemporary Art as well as on photography from Africa, the work of women artists and feminist aesthetics. Her curatorial practice includes Gauguin: Maker of Myth, Tate, London 2011, Figures & Fictions: Contemporary South African Photography, V&A, London 2011, Conversations in Letters & Lines: William Kentridge and Vivienne Koorland, Fruitmarket, Edinburgh 2016, and Beyond the Binary: Santu Mofokeng and David Goldblatt, Walther Coll. 2023. Sinazo Chiya is a writer and associate director at Stevenson, based in Cape Town. She is among the 2019 writing fellows at the Institute of Creative Arts at UCT. She is the editor of Mawande Ka Zenzile’s monograph, Uhambo luyazilawula and has contributed texts to publications by Penny Siopis and Dada Khanyisa. In 2018 Chiya published 9 More Weeks, a book of artist interviews and has previously written for Art Africa, Artthrob, Adjective and the Center for Curating the Archive. Tandazani Dhlakama, is curator at Zeitz MOCAA. She joined the museum in 2017 and has been involved in the Zeitz MOCAA Centre for Art Education as Education Manager with special focus on public programming and tertiary engagement. She recently curated Witness: Afro Perspectives from the Jorge M. Pérez Collection at El Espacio 23 (2020), Five Bhobh: Painting at the End of an Era (2018) and co-curated Nobukho Nqaba’s Izicwangciso Zezethu… (2019) at Zeitz MOCAA. Professor Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela holds the South African National Research Chair in Violent Histories and Transgenerational Trauma. Her work focuses on exploring ways in which the impact of that oppression and violence across generations in the aftermath of historical trauma and the relationship between remorse and forgiveness. Her recent honours include: fellowship at the Harvard Radcliffe; Honorary Doctor of Laws from Rhodes University (2019), and since 2017, she has been Research Advisor and Global Scholar at Queen's University, Belfast.

    Kettle's Yard, University of Cambridge
    Publish date
    22nd Oct 2024
    Paperback / softback
    290 mm x 230 mm
    164 Pages
    41 color
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