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40 Under 40 Africa

Kudzanai-Violet Hwami

28 September 2020


Kudzanai-Violet Hwami builds up her paintings like collages, combining vivid oil pigments, silkscreen, pastel, and found photographs or digitally collaged images – frequently of herself and her family. The resulting works are at once technically assured in their painterly realism yet also surreal, by virtue of their layering of different kinds of media. In her bold nudes, Hwami also confronts the ways in which Black bodies have been depicted throughout history.

Hwami was born in Zimbabwe and moved to the UK when she was 17. She graduated from Wimbledon College of Arts in 2016; in the same year she won the Young Achiever of the Year Award at the Zimbabwean International Women’s Awards, and was shortlisted for Bloomberg New Contemporaries. Her first solo show in London opened at Tyburn Gallery in 2017. Hwami represented Zimbabwe at Venice last year and had her first insitutional show at Gasworks in London, the title of which – ‘(15,952km) via Trans-Sahara Hwy N1’ – referred to the distance and route between London and her place of birth via Cape Town. In recent years she has also exhibited at Les Ateliers de Rennes–Biennale d’Art Contemporain, Zeitz MOCAA, Cape Town, and the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Harare.

Lotus (2018), Kudzanai-Violet Hwami. Courtesy the artist

Lotus (2018), Kudzanai-Violet Hwami. Courtesy the artist

Read Jillian Caddell’s interview with Kudzanai-Violet Hwami here

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