Art Brings together Harare and Detroit

By Masimba Biriwasha | Global Editor At Large | @ChiefKMasimba | January 22, 2014

Top Zimbabwean and United States’ Detroit-based artists will show case their works in a highly eclectic, collaborative exhibition titled “Kumusha,” to launch at Delta Art Gallery in Harare on Friday. The exhibition is part of an ongoing project aimed at uniting artists in Detroit and Zimbabwe, turning them into cultural ambassadors.

The multi-dimensional group show will feature works by artists, musicians, filmmakers and writers. Local participating artists, including, visual artists Tapfuma Gutsa and Masimba Hwati, hip hop artist Jerry Mugweni and mbira songstress Hope Masike among others will have a unique opportunity to share their work with new audiences.

Detroit and Zimbabwe may be far apart but they have a lot in common, part of which is a spirit of resilience that showcases itself through the arts. Through the ingenious project, artists in the two cities are collaborating, defying geographical boundaries, thanks in part to technology.

In recent years, Detroit and Zimbabwe have experienced economic hardships characterized by huge population exoduses and a sense of despair. But artists in both parts of the world continue to dig deep within themselves  – creating and experimenting – in the process establishing new visions of art.

“We acknowledge the current situation of economic crisis and a range of social issues that individuals in both these spaces grapple with. Our goal is to encourage ties between culture producers and residents in both Zimbabwe and Detroit acting as catalysts for critical artistic production as well as cultural exchange between these two diverse communities,” said Kumbulani Zamchiya, one of the organizers of the show.

Through the project launched last year aptly called the Zimbabwe Cultural Center of Detroit and the Detroit Cultural Center of Zimbabwe based in Harare and Detroit, respectively, artists in Detroit and Harare are dismantling physical boundaries through artistic collaborations thereby building a larger cultural village.

“The two spaces, Detroit and Zimbabwe are not foreign to global media imposed identities, both in an economic crisis, the exhibit “Kumusha” is an attempt to connect the two communities virtually blurring the boundaries and extended their immediate communities into a global village. The personal narratives shared among the collaborators from both spaces define their cities through the individual and not the generalized popular identities,” said Chido Johnson, curator of the show and ZCCD-DCCZ co-founder.

Through the ZCCD-DCCZ, musicians, visual artists, performance artists and others engage in a conversation and respond to similar circumstances of politics, economics, life — the world — through art and across continents. Digital technology plays a key role, collapsing the physical boundaries and bringing artists from Detroit and Zimbabwe who are dealing with similar issues to engage in a new conversation.

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