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The National Gallery of Zimbabwe and the Commissioner for the Zimbabwe Pavilion, in conjunction with the Ministry of Sport, Arts and Culture and the National Arts Council, will be sending Chikonzero Chazunguza, Masimba Hwati and Gareth Nyandoro to La Biennale di Venezia 56th International Art Exhibition as the representatives for the Zimbabwe Pavilion.

They will leave on May 5 and will stay there for about four days though the exhibition will run from the May 9 to November 22 2015.

The three will create new artworks and multimedia installations that will transform the entirety of Santa Maria della Pieta into an authentic Zimbabwean environment. They will conceive a new complex of works, incorporating video, prints, drawings, objects and sound for the six galleries of the Zimbabwe Pavilion. Zimbabwe’s identity and its place in the global sphere has always been a source of inspiration for the Zimbabwe Pavilion at Venice and this Year’s theme “Pixels of Ubuntu” or “Unhu – Exploring the Social and Cultural Identities of the 21st Century” continues the interrogatory nature of the Zimbabwe Pavilion at la Biennale di Venezia.

“The 2015 exhibition carries further the discourse on the appreciation and practice of Ubuntu,” said the Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture, Honourable Andrew Langa, during a Press conference held at the Gallery in Harare last week to announce the Zimbabwe Pavilion at la Biennale di Venezia 2015 Project. “As the elders say, ‘Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu or ‘munhu munhu navanhu’, it is deep seated Afro-centric assertion that, ‘I am because we are’ which is the cornerstone of our identity as people in Africa.

The exhibition will therefore be curated and structured as a philosophical interrogation of various constructs that shape our ethnography. The artworks will show the convergence of tradition and modernity through the eyes and perceptions of three artists, Masimba Hwati, Gareth Nyandoro and Chikonzero Chazunguza,” he said

He added: “The theme ‘Pixels of Ubuntu’ refer to those nuggets and treasures of Zimbabwe’s expression of ubuntu. It picks on the significance of ubuntu in the process of reclaiming African identity and thought and making a statement of the future of African Culture and its development in the face of globalisation.”

The Zimbabwe Pavilion is curated by Mr Raphael Chikukwa, the chief curator and deputy director of the National Gallery in Zimbabwe, with the help of Tafadzwa Gwetai and it was commissioned by Mrs Doreen Sibanda, who is the executive director of the National Gallery of Zimbabwe. The Pavilion will be an exceptional moment in the National Gallery’s endeavour to promote Zimbabwean art and culture internationally.

The National Gallery of Zimbabwe is prominent for presenting ground- breaking contemporary art exhibitions in and outside Zimbabwe and has always served as a creative laboratory where artists are free to experiment. This is a position that has been affirmed by the institution having initiated and acted as the commissioning institution for the Zimbabwe Pavilion’s past two editions “Seeing Ourselves” in 2011 and “Dudziro” in 2013.

“The visual arts in Zimbabwe have always had a special place in the global arena over the years but it was in 2011 when the nation participated in the 54th Venice Biennale with the theme ‘Seeing Ourselves’ in 2011 that a footprint was gly made,” added Langa.

“The Zimbabwe Pavilion has been a permanent feature as a representative of Africa since then. It should be stressed that Zimbabwe was the first country alongside South Africa to have a pavilion at the International Art Exhibition in Venice. Prior to this, African artists would exhibit as guests of other countries and nations but it serves as a proof to the continuing pioneering nature of Zimbabwean art on the global arena.”

Speaking on the same event, the deputy head of mission of the Embassy of Italy in Harare, Roberto Franceschinis, said: “The biennale is an art exhibition and not an art fair, and as such requires more than an unbiased updating of a roster of artists, young or not so young, famous or otherwise. Art and today’s reality present us with far more complex tasks. In the past, we have defined the biennale in various ways.

“Today, faced with the dangers of slipping towards a more orthodox popularity, conventionally and security, we have named it ‘The Machine of Desire’ to keep the desire for art high and in turn to want art and accept it is a necessity.”

The Venice Biennale was opened on April 30 1895, when the first International Art exhibition was organised by the Italian King and Queen, Umberto 1 and Margherita di Savoia.

It is one of the most important international biennales and cultural institutions in the world as it introduces hundreds of thousands of visitors to exciting new art every two years. The 56th International Art Exhibition of la Biennale di Venezia is this year directed by Okwui Enwezor, who is a curator, an art critic and a writer. He is also the director of the Haus der Kunst, Munich and the first African to direct the Biennale.

Source : The Herald