Challenging colonial futures

It seems like we blinked and Zimbabwean artist Mr Kudzanai Chiurai had transcended his status as one of the most urgent young artists on the continent, and become an established voice with a distinct narrative foothold on the post colony. That narrative will be extended at the end of August with the opening of his latest exhibition, ‘We stand in silence’.     

“It’s crucial to be able to select individuals capable of speaking as we do, capable of thinking as we do, capable of retaining, of absorbing, yes absorbing words as we do and above all giving them the same meaning, and so there’ll soon be millions of white-washed blacks, white-washed and economically enslaved.” This line, from Mauritanian filmmaker M Med Hondo’s 1967 Drama Soleil Ô, underpins the colonial mindset that Chiurai wants to interrogate in his upcoming exhibition “We stand in silence’, to be hosted by the Goodman Gallery and Constitution Hill from August 31. 
The show is billed as a continuation of Mr Chiurai’s career long quest to challenge our given narratives, with a view to disrupting ‘colonial futures’ and creating ‘counter memories’ to the normative western narratives. The dual location exhibition marks the final installment in a three-part series that began with Revelations (2011) and continued with Genesis [Je n’isi isi] in 2016. This new series of “characteristically theatrical and politically charged works (photographs, videos, drawings, paintings and installation)” is summed up by the Goodman thus: “(It) dissects the (Hondo) film through similitude, recreating scenes intercut with visual references from popular culture and art historical sources to stage alternative colonial histories and futures that reject this notion that African migrants are to think, speak and understand language like their colonisers.”
In subverting these notions, Mr Chiurai – whose work has been acquired by MoMA, Pigozzi Collection, Walther Collection, Fondation Louis Vuitton, Zeitz MoCAA and Iziko SANG – goes further, centering the female role in our liberation, quite apart from the idea of the black man as colonial victim and liberator of the post colony. As with previous work, he sits at the centre of an impressive production team that includes photographer Mr Jurie Potgieter, stylist Ms. Bee Diamondhead and performance director Ms. Lindiwe Matshikiza. 

We stand in silence opens on August 31 at the Goodman Gallery Johannesburg and at Constitution Hill on September 9.

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