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Kudzanai-Violet Hwami, Sekuru Koni, 2017. Acrylic and oil on canvas. Courtesy of the artist and Tyburn Gallery.

Gasworks presents the first institutional solo exhibition by London-based artist Kudzanai-Violet Hwami. Born in Zimbabwe, Hwami left her homeland at the age of nine amidst political turmoil. Drawing on personal experiences of geographical dislocation and displacement, her intensely pigmented paintings combine visual fragments from a myriad of sources, including images found online and haunting family photographs, as a way to collapse past and present into bold afro-futuristic visions. 

Hwami’s work bears testimony to diasporic life, migration and resilience. Her portraits are a celebration of black bodies and a powerful manifestation of queer joy, while also raising questions about gender, spirituality and the conditions of representation for marginalised communities. Often taking intricate and layered digital collages produced on a tablet as a point of departure for large-scale canvases, Hwami reflects on the role that online communication and different forms of technological mediation have in the everyday life of diasporic subjects.

After representing Zimbabwe at the 58th Venice Biennale in 2019, the artist has developed her most ambitious body of work to date, a newly-commissioned series of paintings that explore black self-fashioning as well as deeply personal experiences of uprooting and regrounding. Bold and tender, Hwami’s portraits interweave memory, testimony, imagination and the political longing for a truer world.

Kudzanai-Violet Hwami’s exhibition is commissioned and produced by Gasworks, where she has been a studio holder since August 2018, and generously supported by Tyburn Gallery.

Gasworks commissions are supported by Catherine Petitgas and Gasworks Exhibitions Supporters. 

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Artist Biography

Kudzanai-Violet Hwami is a London-based artist born in Zimbabwe and raised in South Africa. She is represented by Tyburn Gallery. Recent exhibitions include: Les Ateliers de Rennes–Biennale d’Art Contemporain, Rennes; Zeitz MOCAA, Cape Town; Triangle France, Marseille; Stephen Friedman Gallery, London; Espace Art Absolument, Paris; Fondation Clément, Martinique (all 2018); National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Harare; Tyburn Gallery, London (all 2017). In 2016, the same year she graduated from college, Hwami was awarded the Clyde & Co Award and the Young Achiever of the Year Award at the Zimbabwean International Women’s Awards, as well as featured in Bloomberg New Contemporaries.