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INTERVIEW: Artist Kudzanai Chiurai Launches his Book "Whilst the Harvest Rots"

Goodman Gallery is launching the first publication presenting an in-depth survey of Zimbabwean artist Kudzanai Chiurai's artistic practice. Tracing the innovative and revolutionary oeuvre of an artist who has quietly and consistently drawn attention to the most pressing socio-political events of our time, 'While the Harvest Rots: Possessing Worlds of Kudzanai Chiurai’s Art' offers a close, critical visual analysis and interpretation of Chiurai's work to date.

Edited by Robert Muponde and Emma Laurence, the book features contributions by Nolan Oswald Dennis, Thabisani Ndlovu and Josiah Nyanja, as well as an original short story by Chiurai. Designers Katy Taplin (Dokter and Misses) and Givan Lötz have crafted a beautiful publication from cover to cover.

Kudzanai Chiurai is an internationally acclaimed young artist born in Zimbabwe. He was the first black student to graduate with a BA Fine Art from the University of Pretoria.

Chiurai has held numerous solo exhibitions since 2003, (some of which were with Goodman Gallery) and has participated in various local and international exhibitions. How did the decision to publish the book come about?

I have often published my own magazines over the past couple of years, the gallery wanted to commission this specific publication as the first survey of my work to date.

Can you give us a glimpse into which are some of the key artworks that your book will be focused on, and why you chose to focus on those particular artworks?

The book was commissioned by the Goodman Gallery, so the key works that were written about were chosen independently by the different authors, depending on what they wanted to focus on. So for example, Robert Muponde wrote about a painting I completed in 2013 called Untitled (The English Garden), Mary Mandivavarira wrote about the photograph Revelations VI (2011), which was inspired by the scene from the Last Supper, and Nolan Oswald Dennis took the painting Boy Next Door (2009) as a starting point for writing about the influence of hip hop in my work. What are some of the important conversations that you think Africans should be having at the moment to drive progress? Every conversation taking place currently is very important, it’s also important that they don’t take place in isolation. The need for social justice is imperative across the continent.​ Having lived in South Africa, what are your thoughts on South Africa's current political landscape?

South Africa is not particularly special, we find variations of what is happening in South Africa across the continent, so if you want to understand what is happening in South Africa you also have to look across the continent. Some of the solutions can be found in other parts of the continent. Do you feel that Art and Politics are inseparable? Art is politics and our lives are political​

Be sure to catch the book launch at Goodman Gallery Capetown this evening at 5pm.


Book cover: Katy Taplin and Givan Lötz

Interview: Phendu Kuta

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