Portia Zvavahera - Artworks & Biography | David Zwirner
A detail from a painting by Portia Zvavahera, titled This is where I travelled [3], dated 2020.

Portia Zvavahera

June 3, 2021 – As announced in ARTnews, David Zwirner is pleased to announce the representation of the Zimbabwean artist Portia Zvavahera in collaboration with Stevenson gallery. David Zwirner will present an exhibition of new work by Zvavahera in New York in the fall of 2021. Ndakavata pasi ndikamutswa nekuti anonditsigira, the artist’s first solo presentation in Europe, was featured at the gallery’s London location in 2020. Zvavahera’s work will also be a part of Program, David Zwirner’s global livestreaming event on June 10. 

In her paintings, Zvavahera gives form to emotions that manifest from other realms and dimensions beyond the domains of everyday life and thought. Her vivid imagery is rooted in the cornerstones of our earthly existence—life and death, pain and pleasure, isolation and connection, and love and loss. These deeply personal visions are realized through layers of vibrant color and ornate, veil-like patterns that the artist builds up into palimpsestic surfaces through a combination of expressive brushwork and elaborate printmaking techniques. Zvavahera’s compositions draw on particular traditions of figuration in past and present Zimbabwe, first expressed in the work of Thomas Mukarobgwa in the 1960s, while also pointing to postwar artistic practices that probe the nature of the human condition.

Joining an intimate process of self-reflection with her singular perspective, Zvavahera, in the words of curator Gabi Ngcobo, “speaks of feeling both challenged by the differences in her understanding of spirituality and optimistic about the recognition of a shared resistance against the powers that have threatened our humanity. Through her mind’s eye Zvavahera transports us deeper and deeper towards our true selves. You can escape but you’ll always need to come back.”1

Image: Portia Zvavahera, This is where I travelled [5], 2020 (detail)

1 Gabi Ngcobo, “Portia Zvavahera,” We don’t need another hero, 10th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art (2018), accessed July 24, 2020, https://bb10.berlinbiennale.de/artists/p/portia-zvavahera.

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