SHIFT - by Chiko Chazunguza - August 23 - September 16
This exhibition showcases recent work by multidisciplinary artist Chikonzera (Chiko) Chazunguza. Born and raised in Harare, Zimbabwe,educated in Bulgaria and currently residing in Ottawa, Chiko’scompelling artistic practice explores the changing nature of culturalproduction in an increasingly hybridized postcolonial world.With a concern for formal values (colour, line, composition) andsocial issues such as power, history, and globalization, the artist’sdense, multi-layered paintings are inspired by the colours and energyof Southern Africa’s visual arts and music, and influenced by theregion’s socio-political realities. Though grounded in the veracity of this transitioning environment, his canvases operate as enveloping alternate realities of space, time, and form, commenting on relationships between movement and stasis, freedom and control, chaos and order, and individual action and collective agency. Of his work, he states,
“Through art, I reflect upon how issues such as spirituality, disposition, denied access and interferences with basic commodities, and the painful evolution of ancient cultural traditions into contemporary yet uncertain urbanised communities, all shape and shift our constructed notions of identity.”With paintings that blur the line between figuration and abstraction while constantly referencing the world around us, the artist achieves an effect of compositional resonance, as elements advance and recede within the graphically ambiguous spaces, creating ideal metaphors for the increasingly interconnected and complex character of the 21st century. Originally from Zimbabwe, Chiko Chazunguza received a scholarship to study at the Institute of Pictorial Arts in Sofia, Bulgaria, where he earned his MFA and was trained in the classical modes of printmaking, drawing and painting. In 1994, he returned to Africa in search of uniting his training in contemporary European art with elements inspired by indigenous Zimbabwean aesthetics. While in Zimbabwe, Chiko was active in many different areas including teaching arts, acting as Assistant Director at the Zimbabwe Institute of Digital Arts and as Head of the Art Department at Harare Polytechnic College. He also functioned as Adjudicator for different arts institutions including the National Gallery in Zimbabwe, the National Gallery of Namibia, and worked to establish an artist resource center, Dzimbanhete Arts Interaction. He is the recipient of numerous awards and has exhibited in several solo shows in Africa, Europe and North America, where his work has also been collected. Curator: Pam Edmonds See below for photos from Opening Night!