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.


7 Gengetone Acts You Need to Check Out

The streets speak gengetone: Kenya's gengetone sound is reverberating across East Africa and the world, get to know its main purveyors.

Sailors' "Wamlambez!"Wamlambez!" which roughly translates to "those who lick," is the cry the reverberated round the world, pushing the gengetone sound to the global stage. The response "wamnyonyez" roughly translates to "those who suck" and that should tell you all you need to know about the genre.

Known for its lewd lyrics and repetitive (often call and response) hooks, gengetone makes no apologies for belonging to the streets. First of all, most artists that create gengetone are grouped into bands with a few outliers like Zzero Sufuri riding solo. The songs themselves often feature a multiplicity of voices with screams and crowds coming through as ad libs, adding to this idea that this is definitely "outside" music.

Listening to Odi wa Muranga play with his vocal on the track "Thao" it's easy to think that this is the first, but gengetone fits snuggly in a history of sheng rap based on the kapuka style beat. Kapuka is onomatopoeically named, the beats have that repetitive drum-hat-drum skip that sounds like pu-ka-pu-ka-pu. Artists like Nonini were asking women to come over using this riff long before Ochungulo family told them to stay home if they aren't willing to give it up.

Here's seven gengetone groups worth listening to.

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