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Njelele gallery explores urban art
Tinashe Sibanda, NewsDay
October 30, 2013

Njelele Art Station in Harare is currently celebrating urban art and creative expression on the gallery’s interior and exterior walls under the exhibition Afropolicity, running until November 30.

The paintings and mixed media photography reflect the urban identity and cultural personality of cities in Zimbabwe.

Afropolicity has 25 pieces on display, including a mural covering the front facade of Njelele by globally-acclaimed graffiti artist Breeze Yoko from South Africa.

There is also mural in the back courtyard painted in collaboration with various young local street artists and the exhibition inside the gallery space includes exciting new works by prominent and established artists including Misheck Masamvu, Calvin Dondo and Portia Zvavahera among others.

“These artists have exhibited extensively including at the Venice Biennale alongside young emerging and hidden talent such as Isheanesu Dondo and Erhuardt Muchemwa,” said Njelele founder and artistic director, Dana Whabira.

She said the local art community had responded positively to the exhibitions, and attendance figures more than doubled at the official opening on Saturday.

Whabira said artists were excited by the new alternative platform for exhibiting their works and were pleased with its focus on cutting-edge contemporary media.

“The murals are the first examples of real graffiti art in the city of Harare, we now join neighbouring countries such as South Africa, Mozambique, Botswana and Angola on having a vibrant urban art culture that infuses warmth, personality, colour and texture onto the bland grey walls of the cityscape,” she added.

Whabira said the surrounding local community had expressed their pleasure at the beautiful murals that beautify their surroundings, delight passersby and attract new people into the area, which led to a new perception and revitalisation of that part of downtown Harare.

The exhibition preview offered a unique event for the local art scene that included performances by The Monkey Nuts, Synik, Tulpa, Barbra Breeze and Sista Zai, a DJ based in Melbourne.

“In the coming year, Njelele will collaborate with international curators and galleries to offer exhibition and exchange for local artists,” Whabira said.

The next exhibition at Njelele Art Station will be curated in collaboration with Village Unhu, an artist collective led by Masamvu, which is expected to open in February 2014.

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