HARARE: Mwandiambira + Tauzeni + Teede at Hazard Gallery, Johannesburg / by Helen Teede

HARARE: Mwandiambira + Tauzeni + Teede

03/11/16 - 04/12/16

Exhibition supporting text by Valerie Kabov.

HAZARD Gallery in association with First Floor Gallery Harare is delighted to present Harare: Mwandiambira + Tauzeni + Teede a group exhibition by a new generation of Zimbabwean artists Miriro Mwandiambira, Mavis Tauzeni and Helen Teede.

The exhibition follows on from Harare: Mundopa + Nyaude, HAZARD Gallery's 2016 exhibition, also in partnership with First Floor Gallery Harare  showcasing the work of Zeibabwean painters, Gresham Nyaude and Wycliff Mundopa.

"When we developed the first edition of Harare (Mundopa + Nyaude), as a way of building a picture of a city through art, it became almost immediately apparent that no matter how dynamic and powerful, Harare through the eyes of only two artists could not present a complete picture. Harare through the eyes of Mundopa and Nyaude is a forceful and tense environment, beautiful and painful, dominated by street life. Still there are other spaces and places in the life of a city and its citizens called to be addressed. Spaces that include introspection, intimate spaces as well as landscape, connection with tradition.

Works of Miriro Mwandiambira, Mavis Tauzeni and Helen Teede provide such a counterpoint. Not accidentally it is women artists of the new generation, whose work is engaging with these more subtle aspects of the city.

Helen Teede, as a white Zimbabwean is deeply and painfully conscious of the painful and conflicted history of race relations in the country and Harare as a divided city, which still has not arrived at reconciliation and integration. Yet, it is the only home that Helen has ever known and the place she loves deeply and without reservation. In her paintings Teede takes the love for the land, as a unifying Zimbabwean characteristic across colour lines, as the starting point from which to build a vision of a city and a country, which can be shared. Teede’s landscape based canvases build narratives about the land, which nourishes the life of the city both poetically and aspirationally.

Poetry is also close to the work of Mavis Tauzeni. While Teede expresses an inner quest though an outward journey, Tauzeni reverses the process, presenting us with snapshot of inner journeys, conditioned by the outside world, and a quest for self-actualisation in a time flux for the country and its culture. Tauzeni’s search is for a personal idea of identity, which is sometimes lost and trapped under the weight of tradition and social expectations of women in Zimbabwe. Her canvases, with strategically integrated print elements, underscore the dynamic social equilibrium, which aspires to freedom amid limitations, at times melancholy at times jubilant but wholly humane.

Miriro Mwandiambira, the youngest artist of the trio, is also concerned with the idea of contemporary young Zimbabwaen womanhood. Unlike Tauzeni however, she moves away from traditional art medium of painting, to assert the domain of woman’s work and creativity into the space of art. Sawing, fashion, hair design and elements of self-decoration, like artificial nails are legitimized and undeniably art media in her elaborately crafted wall hangings. By doing so, Mwandiambira also disrupts the divide between public and private domains in society, the male and the female by integrating curtains, bed sheets and tablecloths with conventional art materials with grace and intention. 

The layered portrait of Harare in the exhibition, speak strongly for the fifty percent of the population, who too often carry more than their fair share of the burden of and who literally and metaphorically shape the city’s hopes and dreams of a better future."