CityLife Arts

Abstract artist Wallem Mapondera takes exhibition to Art Basel Miami

Cape Town based Zimbabwean born artist Wallen Mapondera I taking part at Art Basel Miami represented by South African gallery, SAC Gallery.

SMAC Gallery representing the artist Art Basel Miami Beach with a SMAC Gallery inCape solo presentation of new works by Mapondera, opening online next week, Wednesday 2 December 2020. Zai Rakawora will also be on show at Smac Gallery in Cape Town. Appointments are recommended but not required.  Arts critic and writer Tigere Mavura takes us  through the art practice of Mapondera. In general and this body of work under review, which is on at the art fair from December 2 to December 6, 2020.

By Tigere Mavura

Zai Rakawora, a new body of work by Wallen Mapondera, centres on abjection as the framework to imagine renewal, marking a development in his journey towards radical abstraction using found objects. The inanimate things that Mapondera connects with are often those on their way out. The title, Zai Rakawora, in Mapondera’s mother tongue Shona, is an indictment – referring to rotten eggs. It speaks to those moments when society relegates material and subjects them to the realm of  the ‘useless’, where his focus is on the discard – Mapondera is interested in the impermanent nature of the meaning. 

Zai Rakawora is an exploration of abstraction as well as a resistance, a counter-hegemonic extension of the shelf-life of products and material, asking pertinent philosophical questions about the functionality of objects and subjects in contemporary society

Mapondera was born in 1985 in Harare, Zimbabwe and currently lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa. Mapondera received formal art training from Zimbabwe’s National Gallery School of Visual Arts and Design from 2005 to 2007 and recently completed his Masters degree in Fine Art from Rhodes University in Makhanda, South Africa in 2019.

In 2007 Mapondera was selected for the National Gallery of Zimbabwe Artist-in-Residence Programme hosted at the National Gallery School of Visual Arts and Design Studios in Harare, Zimbabwe. Mapondera has since been a resident at the Vermont Studio Center, Burlington in Vermont, USA in 2012; the Pro Helvetia Studio in Zurich, Switzerland in 2018 and the Art Dubai Artist-in-Residence Programme Dubai, UAE in 2020.

Mapondera’s MFA exhibition, Chirema Chine Mazano Chinotamba Chakazendama Madziro, opened at Rhodes University in Makhanda, South Africa in 2019 followed by Chirema Chine Mazano Chinotamba Chakazendama Madziro Part Two at SMAC Gallery in Cape Town, South Africa in 2020. Earlier solo presentations include: Moving Target at SMAC Gallery in Cape Town, South Africa as well as a solo presentation with Tyburn Gallery at Atelier Mondial in Basel, Switzerland in 2019; Emergency Exit at Tyburn Gallery in London, UK; and Samusha Weiri Dongo at SMAC Gallery in Johannesburg, South Africa, both in 2018 and Tsananguro | Clarifications at SMAC Gallery in Cape Town, South Africa in 2017.

Recent art fairs include Artissima in Turin, Italy and 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair London in Somerset House, London, UK  both in 2019; and UNTITLED, Art at Miami Beach in Miami, USA in 2018.

Recent notable group exhibitions include: Five Bhobh: Painting at the End of an Era at Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCAA) in Cape Town, South Africa in 2018; Familiar Histories: An Unstoppable Force in Contemporary Art Discourse, curated by Raphael Chikukwa, at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, in Harare, Zimbabwe in 2017.

Mapondera’s work currently forms part of Matereality, a group exhibition at Iziko South African National Gallery in Cape Town, South Africa.

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