Kudzanai-Violet Hwami’s couageous and tender paintings reveal a deeply personal vision, exploring themes such as diaspora, displacement and identity, featuring self-portraits and images of her extended family. For Hwami, powerful nudes raise questions about the black body and its representation, as well as sexuality, gender and spirituality. The artist’s influences include music, such as ZimHeavy & Afrobeats; literature, including the works of Carl Jung; and her own ongoing voyage of self-discovery.
Hwami’s process involves experimenting with photography and digitally collaged images, using these to create large works on paper or canvas with intensely pigmented oil paint, and often incorporating other media and techniques, such as silkscreen, pastel or charcoal.
Hwami was born in Gutu, Zimbabwe in 1993 and lived in South Africa until the age of 17. She is currently based in the UK and on graduating from Wimbledon College of Arts in 2016, she was awarded the Clyde & Co. Award, the Young Achiever of the Year Award at the Zimbabwean International Women’s Awards and was shortlisted for Bloomberg New Contemporaries. In 2017, her first solo show, If you keep going South, you’ll meet yourself, at Tyburn Gallery was met with wide critical acclaim.
Recent group exhibitions include the 58th Venice Biennale Zimbabwe pavilion (2019). Les Ateliers de Rennes – Biennale d’Art Contemporain, France (2018); Five Bhobh – Painting at the End of an Era, Zeitz MOCAA, Cape Town, South Africa (2018); Vos désirs sont les nôtres, Triangle France, Marseille, France (2018); Talisman in the Age of Difference, curated by Yinka Shonibare MBE, Stephen Friedman Gallery, UK (2018); Ladies by Ladies, Espace Art Absolument, Paris, France (2018); Afriques: artistes d’hier et d’aujourd’hui, Fondation Clément, Martinique (2018); and Discoloured Margins, National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe (2017). Hwami will present her first institutional solo exhibition at Gasworks in London, UK in September 2019 and will commence an MFA at the Ruskin School of Art at Oxford University.