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Kresiah Mukwazhi
17.2. – 16.4.2023

Photo: Kresiah Mukwazhi

Trained as a photographer and visual artist in Zimbabwe and South Africa, Kresiah Mukwazhi works across various media, including mixed media collage, sculpture, performance, and video. Resembling large-scale quilts, her vibrant textile works are habitually loosely hung on gallery walls or suspended from the ceiling, further accentuating their plasticity. Mukwazhi combines materials including canvas, satin, or petticoat, which she stitches and glues together with applications such as sequin. Painted with acrylic and fabric dyes, female figures emerge from the ground. They take on seemingly vulgar and obscene gestures, hinting at the artist’s inquiries into the arduous working and living conditions of female sex workers in her native Zimbabwe’s patriarchal society. Often remaining the last resort for sustaining themselves, prostitution further exposes them to exploitation and violence.


Against this backdrop of precarization and marginalization, Mukwazhi’s work carefully peels out forms of resistance and self-empowerment. “Power or poverty?” reads one of her collages, insinuating the artist’s interest in Mukando (“throwing in”). Developed as an alternative economy model by a sex workers’ community, the Mukando cooperative formed around a shared pot. It assists its members in sustaining one another, establishing a form of self-organization that yields gender equality through reinforcing ties within dispossessed communities. Mutual support and empowerment, together with humor as a weapon and a means of resistance, are recurring themes underlying the artist’s work. Displaying Mukwazhi’s strong sensitivity to textuality and color, it juxtaposes the traumatic with the humorous, and its potency lies in holding open such dissonances.


The exhibition by Kresiah Mukwazhi is a collaboration between the Secession and Nottingham Contemporary, where it will be presented from 27 May to 3 September 2023.

Kresiah Mukwazhi

born 1992 in Harare, lives and works in Harare, Zimbabwe.

Programmed by the board of the Secession

Curated by
Jeanette Pacher

Vereinigung bildender Künstler*innen Wiener Secession
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1010 Vienna
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