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Thursday, December 18, 2014.

 

One of the most exciting artists to have emerged lately from the continent of Africa is Virginia Chihota. Ms Chihota is bringing her first solo exhibition to the UK and mainland Europe from January 2015. Entitled ‘A Thorn in my Flesh’, the exhibition will be hosted in London by Tiwani Contemporary (www.tiwani.co.uk) . The Thorn, Ms Chihota points out, represents the many weaknesses and negative situations in life. "Yet in the right proposed time if we continue with our hope we will be released from the tension and pressures surrounding us,” she says. “Weakness and strength cannot do without each other.” 

 

Ms Chihota was born in 1983 in Chitungwiza, Zimbabwe, and she currently lives and works in Tripoli, Libya. She graduated in Fine Arts from the National Art Gallery Studios in Harare, Zimbabwe in 2006. Recent exhibitions include Shifting Africa: Artistic Views from the Sub-Sahara, Kunsthalle Faust, Hannover (2014); Giving Contours to Shadows, Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Berlin (2014); 55th Venice Biennale (2013), National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Harare (2012); and the Lyon Biennale, Lyon (2011).

 

Chihota represented Zimbabwe at the 55th Venice Biennale in 2013 and was awarded the Prix Canson in the same year, which recognises an international emerging artist working with paper. She uses drawing and printmaking to investigate themes pertaining to universal human experience, including isolation, consciousness and belonging, particularly as it relates to female subjectivity.

 

A Thorn in my Flesh features a selection of Chihota’s typically bold works that have never been exhibited in the UK, including a number of new prints, monoprints and drawings.

 

Over the past years, Chihota has submitted her life, recently her experience of marriage and motherhood, to considerable observation and transformed her thoughts into a body of works on paper of striking symbolic resonance.

 

The works in the exhibition depict the human form, isolated or trapped within womb-like membranes of translucent colours and bold patterns. Chihota’s work comes out of a personal response to relationships and represents a world of boundless desires in which the subject always encounters limitations.

 

Chihota observes the human figure and depicts it with expressive force. Her bold line and play with transparency convey the artist’s authority as much as her subjects' vulnerability and anxiety. There is a graphic impulse in her practice, underpinned by her exceptional skills as a printmaker. Chihota has developed a universal language, based on the repetition and mechanical reproduction of forms rife with allusions to domestic life, religious and folkloric symbolism. Her work is an expression of the essential human impulse for togetherness and belonging, and a masterclass in how to use the traditional media of drawing and printmaking in the 21st century.

 

Exhibition at Tiwani Contemporary (www.tiwani.co.uk) - 9 January – 7 February 2015

Private View: Thursday 8 January 2015, 6.30 – 8.30pm

 

 

The Hugely-Talented Virginia Chihota Brings Her First Solo Exhibition to the UK

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