Zim artist shortlisted for Henrike Grohs Art Awards

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Zim artist shortlisted for Henrike Grohs Art Awards

THE SouthernTIMES Mar 19, 2018

    Sharon Kavhu

    While Zimbabwe is still celebrating the achievement of Danai Gurira, who features in the recently launched Black Panther movie, the country has again seen another success worth celebrating in Georgina Maxim, who has been shortlisted for the Henrike Grohs Art Awards among two other African artists.   

    The Henrike Grohs Art Awards are a biennial event dedicated to visual artists living and working in Africa. The awards are the brainchild of the Goethe-Institute and the Grohs family.

    Maxim was shortlisted together with Em’kal Eyongakpa from Cameroon and Makouvia Kokou Ferdinand from Togo and the three are competing for the throne on March 6.  The winner will be honoured seven days after in Abidjan.

    The Zimbabwean’s work combines weaving, stitch work and the utilisation of found textiles creating objects that evade definition.

    In her video clip for the award competition on YouTube, Maxim said her artwork is divided into three different ways under the theme: ‘healing through stitches’.

    “The theme of my artwork is divided into three ways: stitches of I was in stitches laughing laughter, stitches literally sewing and stitches are scars. This is how I defined the work, healing through stitches.  As such, any one of the three is evident in my work.” said Maxim.

    She said all her works take longer to complete because she only uses her hands for sewing and never a machine.

    “I will not cheat by using a sewing machine because if I am seeing myself as a painter on a dress, then why should I find a machine to paint that for me, I will paint it with my own hands.”

    She sometimes deconstructs old dresses and sews them in a way that reflects on the person who owned the original garment. This type of art, she calls it ‘in memory of’.

    Maxim says she is both a mother and wife but that does not stop her from pursuing her goals and missions as an artist.

    She was born 1980 in Harare.

    The 38-year-old woman is known for working both as an artist and curator with over a decade of arts management and curatorial practice. Maxim together with two other artists (Misheck Masamvu and Gareth Nyandoro) co-founded Village Unhu in 2012, an artist collective space that has been providing studio spaces, exhibitions, workshops and residency programmes for artists – young and professional.

    Currently, she is studying African Verbal and Visual Arts – Languages, Curation and Arts at the University of Bayreuth in Germany.

    Her competitor, Em’kal Eyongakpa is an intermedia artist who approaches the experienced, the unknown, as well as collective histories through a ritual use of repetition and transformation.

    Eyongakpa’s recent ideas draw from indigenous knowledge systems and aesthetics, ethnobotany, applied mycology as well as technology.

    The artist was born in born 1981 in Mamfe, Cameroon.

    He is also known for self-organised community research projects and autonomous art hubs like ‘KHaL!SHRINE’ in Yaoundé (2007-2012) and the recently launched sound art and music platform fúkúyú. He holds degrees in plant biology and ecology from the University of Yaoundé and was a resident at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam.

    Eyongakpa’s work has recently been exhibited at the Jakarta Biennale (2017), the 13th Sharjah Biennial (2017), La Biennale de Montreal (2016), the 32nd Bienal de São Paulo (2016), the 9th and 10th Bamako Encounters (2011, 2015), the 10th Biennale de l’art africain contemporain, Dak’art (2012) and at several international art spaces and museums around the world.

    On the other hand, Makouvia Kokou Ferdinand uses sculptural and performance work with borders and mixes memories, materials and cultural references. Building on traditional Mina culture, his gaze on contemporary society is unique, sometimes ironic and often moving.

    He is a student at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris.

    Ferdinand is a recipient of the Dauphine Prize for Contemporary Art, the Young Talent Revelation Prize for Plastic Arts ADAGP as well as the Aurige Finance and the Amis des Beaux-Arts et Juvenars-IESA Prize. His work will be displayed at Du Salon Du Dessin in Paris (23-25 March 2018), as part of a group exhibition at Anne de Villepoix Gallery during the first half of 2018 and in a solo show at Vincent Sator Gallery in April and May 2019.

    The Henrike Grohs Art Awards are meant to strengthen African artists and encourage them in their quest for a world of togetherness and dialogue.

    Although the awards are for African artists, the message sent through the artwork goes far beyond the continent.

    The jury members of the awards consist of Raphael Chikukwa (Chief Curator, National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Harare), Koyo Kouoh (Artistic Director, RAW Material Company, Dakar), Laurence Bonvin (artist and representative of the Grohs family, Berlin), and Simon Njami (Curator, Paris).

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