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DATE & TIME

12 September - 31 March 2019

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Location: Temporary Exhibition Galleries, level 3

Five Bhobh – Painting at the End of an Era

Artists:

Admire Kamudzengerere (Zimbabwe)
Anthony Bumhira (Zimbabwe)
Berry Bickle (Zimbabwe)
Charles Bhebe (Zimbabwe)
Cosmos Shiridzinomwa (Zimbabwe)
Duncan Wylie (Zimbabwe)
Gareth Nyandoro (Zimbabwe)
Gillian Rosselli (Zimbabwe)
Greg Shaw (Zimbabwe)
Helen Teede (Zimbabwe)
Isheanesu Dondo (Zimbabwe)
Janet Siringwani-Nyabeze (Zimbabwe)
John Kotzé (Malawi)
Kresiah Mukwazhi (Zimbabwe)
Kudzanai-Violet Hwami (Zimbabwe)
Kufa Makwavarara (Zimbabwe)
Mostaff Muchawaya (Zimbabwe)
Misheck Masamvu (Zimbabawe)
Percy Manyonga (Zimbabwe)
Portia Zvavahera (Zimbabwe)
Rashid Jogee (Zimbabwe)
Richard Mudariki (Zimbabwe)
Shalom Kufakwatenzi (Zimbabwe)
Simon Back (Zimbabwe)
Tatenda Magaisa (Zimbabwe)
Tawanda Reza (Zimbabwe)
Thakor Patel (India)
Troy Makaza (Zimbabwe)
Wallen Mapondera (Zimbabwe)

Curator: 
Tandazani Dhlakama

Five Bhobh – Painting At the End of an Era is an exhibition of contemporary painting from Zimbabwe, featuring twenty-nine artists from that country.

Five Bhobh (pronounced “five bob”) is the average fare needed to journey locally by kombi (minibus) in Zimbabwe. As soon as you are crammed in, four in each row, the conductor will announce “Five bhobh!” or “Two pa dollar!” You may hear the tinkling of coins being collected and observe lower denominations of notes unfolding from sweaty palms, pockets and blouses. Monotonously shoulders in the front rows are tapped as money is moved forward and change is negotiated until it reaches the hwindi (bus conductor). By then the engine is roaring and the driver is negotiating his exit from the bustling terminus. Passengers may begin to converse. Matters of everyday life in Zimbabwe are discussed always in codes with a diverse array of figurative language. They have paid their dues, invested in the future, and are waiting expectantly to move forward.

This exhibition features twenty-nine artists from Zimbabwe. In various ways they mark the end of an era, offering foresight into an alternative dispensation. Here the kombi is like the nation of Zimbabwe; the artists its passengers, who engage in social commentary through calculated gesture. Painting has a long history in Zimbabwe. In its broadest sense, it can be defined as the application of pigment on a surface or the manipulation of materials that are traditionally associated with painting. This exhibition provides a synopsis of the medium as it applies to Zimbabwe today, challenging traditional ideas around how painting is defined. In some cases, the painting is stripped to its most basic form, exposing threadbare canvas. At other times, paint is mixed into substances such as silicone, synthetic hair, and wood. For decades, artists from Zimbabwe have manipulated this medium as a way of subtly articulating complex issues, speaking in intricate, allegorical codes. 

Present-day painting comes at a heightened socio-political moment. Recent events in Zimbabwe have left many asking, “Where are we going? What comes next? How do we get there?”  For some, the journey may not be a comfortable one. It may require coming back, picking up where one left off or unravelling forgotten layers of the past. Using various tones and gestures, the artists in this exhibition highlight the pressing questions emanating from a moment of great angst. They interrogate present-day circumstances, reimagine manifold futures, and recount entangled histories.

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