fbpx Biennale Arte 2022 | Portia Zvavahera
La Biennale di Venezia

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Portia Zvavahera

1985, Zimbabwe


  • TUE - SUN
    23/04 > 25/09
    11 am - 7 pm

    FRI - SAT UNTIL 25/09
    11 am - 8 pm

    TUE - SUN
    27/09 > 27/11
    10 am - 6 pm
  • Arsenale
  • Admission with ticket

Portia Zvavahera sees through her dreams. She pairs the emotional intensity of her inner life with the spiritualism of the Indigenous Zimbabwean and Apostolic Pentecostalist beliefs of her upbringing. Most often, the artist’s ghostly, larger-than-life paintings communicate a spiritual understanding of quotidian moments, including renderings of her family, shape-shifting animals, figures attending wedding processions or kneeling in prayer, or women giving birth and engaged in secular rituals typically marked as feminine. Zvavahera’s paintings, too, develop out of a ritualistic process of painting and stencilling to create layers of patterns and luminous colours, recalling processes of block printing in Zimbabwean textile design, while also establishing a rhythmic, almost musical, dynamic between material and mark. For The Milk of Dreams, Zvavahera presents a suite of four new works that continue her exploration of painting as a form of spiritual catharsis. Enveloped by cloak-like vessels of spiralling colour, the figures in paintings like Kudonhedzwa kwevanhu (2022) seem to float in and out of planes of existence, framed by fragments of the natural world, with otherworldly, owl-like creatures overseeing their communion. By portraying these ghostly figures in oil stick and fine brushwork, Zvavahera faces the harrowing visions that populate her subconscious to identify the warnings, or lessons, that they might offer.

Madeline Weisburg


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