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Harare Painter Mavis Tauzeni's Reflections On Being A Woman In Zimbabwe

Zimbabwean artist Mavis Tauzeni's first solo exhibition is on view at First Floor Gallery Harare.

All images courtesy of First Floor Gallery Harare


Eve’s Diaries is the name of Zimbabwean artist Mavis Tauzeni’s first solo exhibition, now on view at First Floor Gallery Harare. Curated by Valerie Kabov, the show features paintings that use figure, form, and color to speak to the complexities and inner turmoil that go along with being a woman in contemporary Zimbabwe.

In ways that are both subtle and direct, Tauzeni's pieces seek to remind Zimbabwean women of their power. “Women in particular relate the physical with the spiritual and emotional in a uniquely powerful way being the givers of life and the nurturers of others," the artist says. Tauzeni invites the audience to consider how a Zimbabwean woman is meant to maneuver new expectations in the present world. According to her artist statement:

"How does she deal with the world, which says it is giving her power and knowledge, but not necessarily the space to exercise it, leaving the question as to what degree the world is prepared to give her that space. For socially, physically and culturally, without that space, a daughter of the new breed of Eve’s bound by traditional and social norms is bound to remain a butterfly in caterpillar state for too long. I ask then how am I going to be given the chance to bloom (the element of freedom) when I am always meant to stay closely tied in my bed."

Tauzeni’s strokes invite you in, yet their drips and abstractions create the kind of secrecy and eavesdropping that one might get from viewing someone else’s diary. Her dual use of words and figures reflects a tension that women face in having to subdue their minds because of the bodies they occupy. In her artist statement, Tauzen demands attention to her mind. “Give me an opportunity to have my voice be heard for once…and also listened to,” she says.

The exhibition's curator concludes, “While passionately expressive of her inner quest, Tauzeni facilities our own and for this we have to be grateful.”

Eve’s Diaries will be running from June 11 to July 30 at First Floor Gallery Harare in Harare, Zimbabwe.

Interview

Interview: Mau From Nowhere Reinvents Himself

The Kenyan artist goes soul-searching with his new MFN EP.

Movement is the crux of mau from nowhere's music—the hip-hop and afropop undertones that dominate his work present a well-traveled artist.

Born in Kenya, Mau spent his life oscillating between the East African nation and England, followed by a short stint spent furthering his studies in New York. In a full-circle moment, mau uprooted his life in the big apple amidst the madness pandemic and made the move to Nairobi.

Listening to the MFN EP feels like diving head first into a pool of Mau's consciousness. He once spoke about the conflict between telling his fans to share their grief while withholding his own, but his latest offering MFN is far from stoic. The project marks his evolution from Kamau Wainana, the soft spoken kid with loud ambitions to mau from nowhere, a trailblazer defining music within 'Nu Nairobi.' As he gets less attached to being defined by a certain space, it's entrancing to watch him find comfort in his craft instead.

In this interview below, we demystify the man behind the music by discussing love, growth, disappointment and the recurrent themes of familial and romantic relationships.

This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.

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