Goodman Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of new and recent work by Kudzanai Chiurai in our Johannesburg space. The show, titled Harvest of Thorns, is a culmination of Chiurai’s projects around public acts of violence as documented and represented by the media. Harvest of Thorns is loosely based on the book of the same title by author Shimmer Chinodya.
Chinodya gives insight into the guerrilla warfare that ensued after Rhodesia’s split from Britain in 1965. Through various conversations with family members. His interest in public acts of violence is thus a real issue of personal relevance. Chiurai asks us to consider subjective mourning for these public acts of violence including the recent events that took place in Marikana. His film Moyo is the third in a series including Iyeza and Creation. Moyo – meaning air – tenderly articulates the moment in death when the air or spirit leaves the body. The woman in the film witnesses this moment and cries ‘Warazulwa ngenxa yami’ (you were ripped and torn for my sake) as she wipes the wounds of a lifeless figure.
The exhibition interrogates a contemporary African notion of sacrifice, though not enquiring into its necessity. Violence and sacrifice are evidenced through Chiurai’s use of sheepskin, bandages, wood, blood-red beads and bronzed horns. Chiurai alludes to ritual practices of war, cleansing and burial.
Harvest of Thorns will also feature drawings and films shown on dOCUMENTA (13) in 2012, which formed part of Chiurai’s series titled Conflict Resolution. The series, Chiurai explains, “grapples with the issue of conflict in the contemporary moment in Africa. The spaces within which conflict has been taking place vary to the extent of our own understanding of what defines conflict. Our understanding of resolution is therefore also brought to the fore as we question the validity and nature of force used in our attempts at peace.”
Kudzanai Chiurai is an internationally acclaimed young artist born in Zimbabwe. He was the first black student to graduate with a BA Fine Art from the University of Pretoria. Born one year after Zimbawe’s emergence from white-ruled Rhodesia – Chiurai’s early work focused on the political, economic and social strife in his homeland. Chiurai has held numerous solo exhibitions since 2003 and has participated in various local and international exhibitions, including Figures & Fictions: Contemporary South African Photography at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and Impressions from South Africa, 1965 to Now at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, which acquired Chiurai’s work for their collection. His Conflict Resolution series was included in dOCUMENTA (13) in Kassel in 2012. His film Iyeza was one of the few African films to be included in the New Frontier shorts programme at the Sundance Film Festival in 2013.