Kudzanai Chiurai, We Live in Silence III, 2017 © Goodman Gallery

UK premire of We Live in Silence by Kudzanai Chiurai

As part of Frieze West End Night Goodman Gallery with Cork St Galleries present We Live in Silence forms the third and final part of a film trilogy by the artist in which Chiurai explores the impact of colonialism, taking Mauritanian filmmaker Med Hondo’s critically acclaimed 1967 drama Soleil Ô as a starting point responding, in particular, to the colonial mindset encapsulated in the following line from the film:

‘It’s crucial to be able to select individuals capable of speaking as we do, capable of thinking as we do, capable of retaining, of absorbing, yes absorbing words as we do and above all giving them the same meaning, and so there’ll soon be millions of white-washed blacks, white-washed and economically enslaved’.

In We Live in Silence, Chiurai dissects the film through similitude, recreating scenes intercut with visual references from popular culture and art historical sources to stage alternative colonial histories and futures that reject this notion that African migrants are to think, speak and understand language like their colonisers. In this series the female plays a central role in recent struggle histories – recasting the lead character as a woman in the black liberation narrative to challenge the gender bias inherent to such narratives, which tend to pit a black male as the victim of colonisation and, hence, the liberator of the post-colony.

Kudzanai Chiurai, We Live in Silence III, 2017 © Goodman Gallery
Kudzanai Chiurai, We Live in Silence III, 2017 © Goodman Gallery

As with previous work, Chiurai collaborated with an award-winning production team: photographer Jurie Potgieter, art director Dylan Lloyd, stylist Bee Diamondhead, set designer Johann Krynauw, director of photography Adam Benton, sound producer João Orecchia, performance director Lindiwe Matshikiza and Botshelo Motuba who plays the main character throughout the photographic series.

Kudzanai Chiurai is an internationally acclaimed artist born in Zimbabwe in 1981. He was the first black student to graduate with a BA Fine Art from the University of Pretoria. Born one year after Zimbabwe’s emergence from white-ruled Rhodesia, Chiurai’s early work focused on the political, economic and social strife in his homeland. The artist has held numerous solo exhibitions with Goodman Gallery, accompanied by publications co-edited by the artist alongside leading African creatives, such as Mbali Soga and Lodi Matsetela.

Chiurai has participated in major exhibitions at institutions such as SCAD Museum of Art in Savannah, Georgia, USA, Museum für Moderne Kunst in Frankfurt, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, and Victoria and Albert Museum in London. His work has been acquired by MoMA, Pigozzi Collection, Walther Collection, Fondation Louis Vuitton, Zeitz MoCAA and Iziko SANG. In 2013, his film Iyeza was one of the few African films to be included in the New Frontier shorts programme at the Sundance Film Festival. In 2012, Chiurai’s Conflict Resolution series was included in dOCUMENTA (13) in Kassel and he was awarded the FNB Artist of the Year Prize.

Thursday 3 October

6 Cork Street, London, W1S 3ND

6:30 pm 

In Conversation: Kudzanai Chiurai and Carrie Mae Weems 
The discussion will explore key themes in We Live in Silence, encompassing cultural identities and the consequences of entrenched power structures, which are pertinent to the work of both artists.
Followed by

7:00 pm (duration 35 minutes)

UK premiere of We Live in Silence

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