“Can revolution be a whisper?”Conductor:
AtWork Harare Chapter 07 has been implemented in partnership with the National Gallery of Zimbabwe and the curatorial team of Raphael Chikukwa, in the framework of the 60 year anniversary of the National Gallery. AtWork was part of the extended program that celebrated the anniversary. The workshop was led by the renowned South African photographer Andrew Tshabangu who conducted the 20 young Zimbabwean artists and art students through the AtWork process. The main theme of the workshop “Can revolution be a whisper?” was elaborated by our advisor Simon Njami.
“A revolution is never a blast. It starts without even telling its name. Discussions in bars, private homes… People whisper. Without that whispering, which is a kind of a silence, it would not succeed. Revolution also as a notion of return. Not in a Nietzschean sense, but like in the movement of earth revolving. It is not necessarily something that makes empires fall. It may be something very intimate and personal. But it announces changes. After the whisper, the action. People should concentrate more on the whisper.”
The workshop took place in Harare, Zimbabwe on July 26-30, implemented in partnership with the National Gallery of Zimbabwe and the curatorial team of Raphael Chikukwa.
The different spaces of the gallery welcomed the participants in an intimate circle, where the discussion led by Andrew Tshabangu slowly unfolded. From the bigger general notion of revolution the conversation became more intimate and started to dig deeper into the various connotations of the word, uncovering individual revolutions of each participant. The very diverse group of visual artists, students, teachers, educators embarked on the intellectual and creative journey that opened new critical perspectives on the way they saw themselves and their practices.
“It’s like we were on a bus together, sharing our very intimate experiences as a family. And if you were not part of the whole journey you couldn’t get on that bus with us”
Andrew Tshabangu Atwork Harare Leader
Andrew Tshabangu is a South-African photographer, born in Soweto in 1966. His photography has been exhibited internationally in various exhibitions. Tshabangu is renowned for his surreal smoky lighting, documents the rituals of black communities in urban Africa.
Tshabangu claimed to be fascinated by the fact of photographing interiors of living spaces without the physical presence of the inhabitants.
In 2015, he participated in the exhibition The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Purgatory, and Hell Revisited by Contemporary African Artists (in Scad Museum, USA & Moderne Kunst Frankfurt/Main (MMK) in Frankfurt, Germany.) As a matter of fact, he asserted that his work was already a reflection on Dante’s ideas about hell, heaven and purgatory, and religion overall.
He is currently represented by MOMO Gallery and is exhibiting internationally.
Andrew came into contact with AtWork in December 2016 during Addis Foto Fest and we subsequently invited him to conduct AtWork Harare chapter.
“A slave can only liberate himself once he is aware of his shackles. The revolution should start from yourself.”
AtWork Harare participant
The different ages and backgrounds of the workshop participants created an environment where true contamination and exchange could take place.
The leader of the workshop, Andrew Tshabangu, provided a range of inspirational materials projecting a documentary on the work of the South African photographer Ernest Cole, the video of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Ted Talk “The danger of a single story” and, of course, an overview of his personal photographic work. The workshop also included a visit to Njelele Art Center, an art space founded by the artist Dana Whabira, who exhibited her works at The Zimbabwe Pavillion of this year Venice Biennale. The artist shared inspirations and ideas behind her practice with the workshop participants, creating an enriching moment that integrated AtWork into the local artistic fabric. Thus the unique environment was created where the young creative talents could confront each other freely and perceive themselves as part of a bigger artistic community both local and global.
“I think the participants were able to partially answer the question “Who am I?” during this workshop and through this answer they will be able to better engage with the community around them”
Andrew Tshabangu AtWork Harare Leader
The Moleskine notebooks created by the participants during the workshop have been exhibited at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe. The exhibition was curated by Raphael Chikukwa and co-curated by the workshop participants. The exhibition inaugurated on September 11th during the ICAC Conference (International Conference on Africa Culture), which was titled “Mapping the Future” the perfect framework for showing the art pieces of this new generation of creative talents. The notebooks will remain on show through October 31st.
Chido Lufuno Machanzi
AtWork Chapter 07 Coordinator:
National Gallery of Zimbabwe curator:
Kresiah Mukwazhi, Tamirirashe Zizhou
Makomborero Theresa Muchemwa