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Kudzanai Chiurai’s “Urban Cool” Vision of the Continent Disturbs the Traditionalists

State of the Nation

PositionsSean O’Toole attended a talk with Zimbabwean artist Kudzanai Chiurai at the Goethe Institute recently, where the artist spoke about his latest exhibition, State of the Nation.

O’Toole says Chiurai’s previous work, “The Black President”, annoyed some “frumpy traditionalists” when it was featured in a recent London exhibition. He attributes this to these traditionalists wanting to see art depicting the “stark social reality” of Africa, rather than the “urban cool” of Chiurai’s photographs.

You can read more about the artist in the book Positions: Contemporary South African Artists edited by Peter Anders and Matthew Krouse.

Kudzinai Chiurai conveys a disturbing vision of the continent in his new photo exhibition, writes Sean O’Toole

Exiled Zimbabwean artist Kudzinai Chiurai, who lives and works in Johannesburg, faces a double jeopardy whenever he visits London. With his shaven head, full beard and angular glasses, he has the look of a devout Muslim. At least this is how UK policemen have in the past interpreted his outward features.

“I have been stopped a couple of times and asked which religious group I am from,” he recently told a small audience at the Goethe Institute. Upon producing his unpopular Zimbabwe passport, Chiurai, who is staging an ambitious two-part exhibition in downtown Johannesburg next month, has to deal with a further barrage of questions.

Book details

Photo courtesy AfroRootz


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