Art Worlds: Zimbabwe
Episode 25 meets artist Misheck Masamvu who considers Zimbabwe’s post-independence character through painting, drawing and sculpture. Sensitive to the country’s economic and political turmoil, he uses frenetic mark making with elements of figuration lurking beneath to go some way to capturing and articulating the experiences of Zimbabweans. Misheck’s civic spiritedness is similarly felt at Village Unhu, an art space he co-founded in the capital Harare to nurture young artistic talent.
Misheck’s work has been exhibited internationally at the 54th Venice Biennale, 22nd Sydney Biennale, Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, among others. In January 2024, he will be included in curator Zoe Whitley’s exhibition at The Institutum, Singapore. Misheck took a break from his painting and joined me from his studio in Harare.
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27. Art Worlds: Zimbabwe27:12Episode 27 meets Raphael Chikukwa, a curator based in Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, who is the Executive Director of the country’s National Gallery. He first joined the institution in 2010 as chief curator, following ten years of working independently and instigating a range of exhibitions including at the Imperial War Museum North and Manchester Art Gallery. Raphael’s commitment to enhancing the visibility of Zimbabwe’s artists saw him become the founding Curator of the Zimbabwe Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale in 2011. He curated subsequent editions, up until 2019, when he became commissioner. During his time he focused on group shows that included Portia Zvavahera and Kudzanai-Violet Hwami. Raphael has advised organisations internationally, among them, Future Generation Art Prize and High Line Plinth in New York and written extensively about Zimbabwe’s contemporary art. He joined me from his office at the gallery to discuss his curatorial work and the grand plans he has for 2024.
26. Art Worlds: Zimbabwe23:12Episode 26 features Richard Mudariki, an artist based between Harare and Cape Town. Known for his satirical figurative paintings, Richard addresses political reform in Zimbabwe, state corruption and social conditions in South Africa. In 2020 he founded artHARARE as an online platform to experience contemporary art by established, mid-career and emerging visual artists from Zimbabwe and its diaspora. The initiative has since developed with artHARARE participating in international art fairs like 1-54, building institutional partnerships as well as hosting talks and starting an art prize. Richard spoke to me from Cape Town about his ongoing efforts to support Zimbabwe’s artists.
24. Art Worlds: Egypt25:17In episode 24, Hana El-Beblawy, an artist and curator, discusses the organisation Ard Art she founded in 2022. Situated in central Cairo, in one of the city’s oldest neighbourhoods, the space provides opportunities for artists to experiment through a varied programme of residencies, workshops, exhibitions and more. With an open and inclusive ethos, Ard Art develops according to artists’ needs and places value on being away from the pressures of the commercial gallery system. Hana’s own artistic practice and experience organising exhibitions in her previous role as artistic and executive director of Art D’Égypte, inform her empathetic, ground-up approach. She joined me from her home in Cairo.
23. Art Worlds: Egypt22:24In episode 23, Art Worlds meets artist and academic Huda Lutfi who integrates her specialism in Islamic culture and history with her multimedia practice. Having taught at the American University of Cairo, her work is suffused with historical references, including symbols from Pharaonic and Coptic cultures, that are recontextualised to highlight Egypt’s contemporary social and political issues. Female archetypes, like the image of the iconic singer Umm Kulthum along with found mannequin parts, often overlaid with Sufi calligraphic text, question gender roles in a patriarchal society. Lutfi’s work is internationally renowned and can be found in the collections of the Barjeel Art Foundation, British Museum, Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts and Los Angeles County Museum of Art, among others. Huda joined me from her studio in Cairo to discuss her work and Egypt’s art history.
22. Art Worlds: Egypt23:44Art Worlds Series 3 starts in Egypt with Nadine Abdel Ghaffar, a French Egyptian curator who founded Art D’Égypte in 2016. What started as an exhibition platform to support Egyptian arts and cultural initiatives has since grown into a cultural consultancy called Culturvator. The organisation offers a range of services, including collection management and art advisory, with the ultimate goal of promoting creative collaborations in Egypt. Nadine is perhaps best known for activating Egypt’s astounding heritage sites through contemporary exhibitions. This includes her annual show Forever is Now that takes place among the Pyramids of Giza. In the run up to the third edition, Nadine spoke to me from her office in Cairo and explained just how one manages to work across one the seven wonders of the world.
21. Art Worlds: Japan20:34Episode 21 meets Daisuke Miyatsu, a collector based in Japan, who has amassed an enviable art collection famously on his modest salary. Working in advertising by day and as a hotel receptionist at night, he has made art his life, collecting widely and inventively since the early 1990s. His collection is founded on the close relationships he’s built with artists and has been shared with public exhibitions at institutions including the Kasama Nichido Museum of Art and Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery in Japan and Daelim Museum of Contemporary Art in Seoul. Now teaching and writing on contemporary art and its economics, Daisuke joined me from his extraordinary art home in Tokyo to discuss his idiosyncratic approach to collecting.
20. Art Worlds: Japan20:49teamLab, an international art collective, are world renowned for creating immersive environments through digital technology. Exploring the intersection of art, technology, science and natural worlds, in Hiroshima they’ve created an interactive ‘Future Park’ where audiences are encouraged to co-create and make drawings that are transformed into installations. In Sao Paulo, they’ve filled rooms with eternal cycles of budding and blossoming flowers. Last year teamLab made their scenographic debut, confounding the boundaries between the stage and audience with a sculptural space of light in a Puccini opera at the Grand Théatre de Genève in Switzerland. Ahead of this opera opening in Japan, Takashi Kudo, teamLab’s Communications Director, joined me from their Tokyo studio to shed light on their process and ambitions.
19. Art Worlds: Japan19:16Episode 19 visits Japan and speaks with Mami Kataoka, director of Tokyo’s Mori Art Museum, a space dedicated to contemporary art and architecture. Part of the founding team, Mami has earned international renown for her curatorial approach, teaching and writing. She’s been consistently listed in ArtReview’s Power 100 and was the first Asian curator to direct Sydney’s Biennale in 2018. Last year saw her open the Aichi Triennale, one of Japan’s largest international art events. Mami joined me from her office in Tokyo to discuss her impressive work and the concept of ‘Asian’ art.