Zimbabwean Artist Depicts The Rise Of A Fictitious African Leader In New Exhibition

Kudzanai Chiurai creates inflammatory portrayals of African leaders in his photo series 'Selections From Revelations.'

Kudzanai Chiurai. Untitled X, 2011. (Courtesy of Goodman Gallery)

Kudzanai Chiurai creates inflammatory portrayals of African leaders. His new photo series, Selections From Revelations, ends January 17 at the Museum of Contemporary African Diaspora Arts (MoCADA) in Brooklyn.

Kundanzai Chiurai is a Johannesburg-based Zimbabwean artist living in exile. Trained as a painter in South Africa, Chiurai was the first black student to graduate with a bachelor's degree in fine arts from the University of Pretoria.

Chiurai began as a landscape painter but during Zimbabwe's 2009 elections his work became increasingly political. A stencil image he made depicting President Robert Mugabe in flames with horns on his head prompted threats of arrest and he fled the country.

Despite his exile, he kept doing political art. His outdoor murals depicting the Zimbabwean elections and the xenophobic attacks that followed in South Africa were featured in a 2011 exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art in New York titled Impressions from South Africa, 1965 to Now.

Starting this month, MoCADA presents Selections From Revelations, Chiurai's photo series documenting and satirizing the rise of a fictitious African leader. In the images, Chiurai creates constructed environments reflecting Western imaginings of contemporary African politics. His dramatic photographs are laden with capitalist and post-colonial signifiers like oil tins, discarded tires and corporate branding.

According to the MOCADA website,“Chirurai’s chaotic compositions result in flattened picture planes which distort the viewer’s depth perception, a visual effect that mirrors the monolithic and reductive representations of the continent as perpetuated in global mainstream news media.”

‘Selections From Revelations’ runs October 17, 2015 through January 17, 2016, at MoCADA in Brooklyn, NY. Find out more about the show via MoCADA.

Kudzanai Chiurai. Revelations XI, 2011. (Courtesy of Goodman Gallery)

Kudzanai Chiurai. Untitled VIII, 2011. (Courtesy of Goodman Gallery)

Kudzanai Chiurai. Revelations VI, 2011. (Courtesy of Goodman Gallery)

Kudzanai Chiurai. Revelations I, 2011. (Courtesy of Goodman Gallery)

Kudzanai Chiurai. Revelations IV, 2011. (Courtesy of Goodman Gallery)


This Compilation Shines a Light On East African Underground Music

We talk to a few of the artists featured on the Music For the Eagles compilation from Uganda's Nyege Nyege.

Nyege Nyege, a label in Kampala, Uganda is channelling the confidence brimming over a whole continent. Africa is no longer the future. For dance music, its time is right now.

Music For the Eagles is a compilation released in conjunction with Soundcloud to showcase the best new acts that East Africa has to offer outside the mainstream. A new wave of artists firmly blasting non-conformist energy for you to spasm to. Music that takes you places. Otim Alpha's high BPM wedding frenzy of incessant rasping vocals accompanied by feverous violin will have you clawing the walls to oblivion. Anti Vairas' dancehall from a battleship with super galactic intentions doesn't even break a sweat as it ruins you. FLO's beautiful sirens call, is a skittish and detuned nursery rhyme that hints at a yearning for love but reveals something far more unnerving. Ecko Bazz's tough spiralling vocal over sub-bass and devil trap energy is an anthem that can only be bewailed. And Kidane Fighter's tune is more trance-like prayer. These are only some of the highlights for you to shake it out to.

We got to chat with a few of the artists featured on the Music For the Eagles compilation as they took a break from the studio below.

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