27 August 2012

Art & Politics | Kudzania Chiurai's Provocative Artwork

Zimbabwean-born Kudzania Chiurai is noted as one of the most talented artists on the contemporary African art scene. Using mixed media Chiurai addresses topics of politics and xenophobia. As a result, many describe him as a poet, an activist, and cultural philosopher. When asked about his focus on politics,  Kudzania Chiurai answered saying, "You can't escape politics. Everything's political in the sense like how we're socialized." Trained as painter, Chiurai soon got involved with politics when he created posters of Mugabe in flames and with horns on his head. He was threatened with arrest and moved to South Africa in self-imposed exile. 
The Black President; Minister of Education

Dying To Be Men
In his first solo installation, Kudzania Chiurai explores the aesthetics of propaganda and political representation in this series. With the influence of elections in South Africa, the USA and Zimbabwe, Chiurai presents various aspects of the image of the black president and his cabinet. As a result, the viewer can also observe different notions of masculinity and power, as evocatively suggested by the title of the exhibition.
Minister of Defense; Minister of Arts and Culture

State of the Nation
The series focuses on aspects of a constructed African state that has just been ravaged by conflict. "On a continent that has experienced more violent conflict than any other, this exhibition follows an individual's narration of events that lead up to the inaugural speech by the first supposedly democratically elected prime minister..." explains Chiurai.
Kudzania Churai's latest collection, entitled Conflict Resolution, was displayed at Documenta 13 in Kassel, Germany. Artists like Churai raise the question of what the role of an artist is. At what point does an artist decide to go from painting flowers to painting provocative images? What is the difference between an artist who focuses on beautiful aesthetically pleasing art, and one who focuses on developing social movements? Share your thoughts in the comments below:

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