Kudzanai Chiurai

Kudzanai Chiurai was born in Harare, Zimbabwe where he currently lives and works.

Chiurai is a multi-disciplinary contemporary artist working in photography, drawings, film, painting, and sculpture. His artistic footprint has also stretched into the mediums of poetry, fashion, activism, publishing, and music, making him a cultural activist.

His work is focused on tracing the trajectory of political, economic and social conditions in his homeland from colonialism and independence, to the present day.

Much of Chiurai’s work has been informed by his personal interaction with the changes in Southern African politics, economics, and social interactions.  His imagery reflects on the dynamics at play between history, contemporary culture, displacement, the psychological experience of urban spaces, power, war and the Western imprint on Africa.

Chiurai was born one year after Zimbabwe gained independence from the UK. In response to the political climate within Zimbabwe in 2008, Chiurai created a series of murals and posters criticising the Zimbabwean government and was threatened with arrest. As a result, Chiurai chose to live in exile in South Africa, where he completed a BA Fine Arts degree from the University of Pretoria (2005) and remained resident in South Africa for several years.

Chiurai has exhibited extensively since 2003 in both Africa and abroad. Solo and group exhibitions include Graceland at  Obert Contemporary (Johannesburg, South Africa: 2007); Iyeza at the RISD Museum (Rhode Island, USA: 2015); Selections from Revelations at  MoCADA (New York, USA: 2015); REVELAÇÕES at  Kulungwana Gallery (Maputo, Mozambique: 2015) and Defining the State of the Nation at the Zeitz MOCAA Pavillion (Cape Town, South Africa: 2014-2015).

Notable international exhibitions include The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Purgatory and Hell Revisited curated by Simon Njami at Museum für Moderne Kunst (Frankfurt: 2014) and SCAD Museum of Art (Savannah, USA: 2015); Impressions from South Africa, 1965 to Now at the Museum of Modern Art (New York, USA: 2011), which acquired Chiurai’s work for their collection; and Figures & Fictions: Contemporary South African Photography at the Victoria and Albert Museum (London: 2011).

His Conflict Resolution series was included in dOCUMENTA (13)  (Kassel:2012) and his film Iyeza was included in the New Frontier shorts programme at the Sundance Film Festival in 2013.

In 2005, Chiurai was listed as Mail & Guardian‘s Top 100 Dazzlers and Doers in South Africa, and in 2011 he was again listed as Mail & Guardian’s Top 200 Young South Africans. In 2012 he was presented with the FNB Joburg Art Prize, and in 2014 he was shortlisted for the Future Generation Art Prize in Venice, selected amongst 21 other artists from the globe.