Kudzanai Chiurai’s diverse practice tracks the political, economic and social conditions in southern Africa from colonialism and independence to the present day. With multimedia works that are cerebral, satirical and viscerally affecting, Chiurai stares down the issues facing his generation. Speaking of his noted series of staged photographs, ‘Revelations’ (2011), the artist said that the work “explored the way in which Africa is imagined and understood in the West as well as questioning the contemporary African condition”. This dictum applies to much of his oeuvre. In works that draw as much from Renaissance iconography as they do from hip-hop culture, Chiurai examines the malignancies of contemporary African politics, as well as the roles played by colonialism, religion, slavery and genocide in laying the foundation for the current state of affairs.
Chiurai was born in 1981 in Harare, Zimbabwe, where he currently lives and works. He completed a BA Fine Arts degree from the University of Pretoria (2005) and remained resident in South Africa for several years. Here he has held numerous solo exhibitions at the Goodman Gallery – most recently ‘While the Harvest Rots’ (2017) – accompanied by publications he co-edited with leading African thinkers and cultural producers. Notable international exhibitions include The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Purgatory and Hell Revisited curated by Simon Njami at Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt (2014) and SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah USA (2015); Impressions from South Africa, 1965 to Now at the Museum of Modern Art in New York (2011), which acquired Chiurai’s work for its collection; and Figures & Fictions: Contemporary South African Photography at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London (2011). Chiurai was awarded the FNB Artist of the Year prize in South Africa (2012). His Conflict Resolution series was included in dOCUMENTA (13) in Kassel in 2012, and his film Iyeza was included in the New Frontier shorts programme at the Sundance Film Festival in 2013. In 2017 the Zeitz Mocaa (Museum of Contemporary Art Africa) opened in Cape Town with several of Chiurai’s works in its collection.