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Ipapo Ipapo

Admire Kamudzengerere

curated by Alessandra Olivi

Opening Wednesday, April 28th, 2021

5pm - 8.30pm


on view until May 29th, 2021

Galleria Anna Marra is pleased to present Admire Kamudzengerere’s solo show Ipapo Ipapo, curated by Alessandra Olivi, to be held at Bubble’n’Squeak, in Brussels.
Bubble’n’Squeak is a new curatorial venue that brings together the most innovative research in contemporary art from all over the world, enhancing and expanding the focus of the three galleries involved: Galleria Anna Marra, Gallery Nosco and Montoro12 Gallery.

Admire Kamudzengerere’s solo exhibition Ipapo Ipapo builds on his interest in psychological and political struggle, in telling simultaneously individual stories and the narratives of Zimbabwean society and nation. Literally, Ipapo Ipapo translates from local language Shona as “here, here”, or “right now, right now”, and it can be considered urban or ghetto slang used by the youth to signify Zimbabweans’ daily hustle for their next meal.

This daily hustling to survive is nothing new to most Zimbabweans, who have been relying on an informal economy of street markets where they buy and sell to make ends meet. Caught up by the pandemic in his studio, Kamudzengerere has witnessed the effect of government restrictions, lockdown and police repression on the lives of his people, struggling between the threat of Covid or the risk of being arrested and the fear of hunger and not being able to provide for their families.

Ipapo Ipapo speaks of the lives of ordinary heroes having to do extraordinary things to make a living, and explores poverty, unemployment and the challenges of today’s Zimbabwe, but also resilience, initiative and opportunity.

The show reflects Kamudzengerere’s multidisciplinary practice, ranging from experimental printmaking techniques – including monotype, silkscreen and lithography – to painting, sculpture, performance and video. Mostly being produced during the pandemic and lockdown in Zimbabwe, the works – featuring arresting layering of textures and colours – are the artist’s testimony to his search for humanity within the current way of surviving, of connection within isolation.

The raw and emotional male self-portrait series featured in the exhibition was first conceived during the artist’s two-year residency at the prestigious Rijksakademie in Amsterdam from 2012 to 2014. During his absence from Zimbabwe his father tragically passed away and Kamudzengerere couldn’t afford to fly home to see him one last time and bury him. Thus, he began staring at himself in the mirror for hours trying to recall the look of his father’s face in his own and immortalize traces of memory in quick and poignant drawings.

In the performance Two Sides of Us, made in collaboration with Rachel Monosov (b.1987, Russia) the two artists look at one another for hours, observing and trying to re-create every detail of the other’s facial features and physical attributes. They attempt to get as close as possible to the likeness of the person sitting before them but, not being master sculptors, they build up frustration with the identities they try to force on each other, and others project onto them.

A multiplicity of smaller-scale and vividly coloured faces and identities printed using the monotype technique on old Harare phone book pages feature in Eligible and Double Entry. These works beautifully illustrate the artist’s interest for ready-made local materials to tell simultaneously individual stories and the narratives of Zimbabwean society and nation, as often they already carry work within.


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