Van Doren Waxter is delighted to present an exhibition of new mixed media works by Zimbabwean artist Gareth Nyandoro, on view from May 22 to August 6, 2021, on the 2nd floor of the gallery’s 1907 townhouse space. Titled MAWORKS, this is the artist’s second exhibition in New York, and features four large-scale pieces (measuring over 100 inches) mounted on canvas alongside recent small panel pieces. The artist is appreciated internationally for his vivid, sensitive compositions.
The foundation of Gareth Nyandoro’s imagery remains anchored in the observation of daily life in Harare and its surroundings -its storefronts and markets, its street life and outskirts, which are all meaningful sites of labor, production, and commercial exchange. The artist pictures these essential scenes using sharp blades in his signature and painstaking ink and cut paper technique (‘kucheka-cheka’, after the Sona verb ‘to cut’), which are mounted on raw cut canvas; these unstretched works often spill out of their two-dimensional format onto the floor, which conveys openness and accessibility in connecting with the space of the viewer.
Nyandoro’s distinctive practice – which negotiates printing, drawing, painting and installation techniques – is stimulated by the energy and liveliness of Harare’s commercial activity, and his sensitive portrayal of its workers and laborers. In these recent works, Nyandoro presents images of everyday scenes observed during the past year’s pandemic. He has titled the show MAWORKS – which is a colloquialism; in street language, it roughly translates to mean working or producing for the everyday, and making what you need to survive, and to be able to carry on.
In the panoramic work Kubatana Fence Makers (all works dated 2021), two workhands wearing safety-yellow garments are seen carefully clipping a metal wire fence; one figure is wearing a mask while the other has it pulled down to around his neck as he cuts with a pair of carefully held scissors. In another, titled Nyange, Nyandoro depicts a worker as he walks with a large shovel carried over his shoulder, next to a sign advertising river sand. The artist focuses on scenes of informal labor, in which people do what is necessary to earn and make a daily living, and to continue to work with grace and dignity - what the artist has described as “a series of artworks that tell a story of struggle and persistence to survive.”
Gareth Nyandoro (b. 1982, Bikita, Zimbabwe) lives in and works in Harare. His recent solo exhibitions include “RUWA” at Tiwani Contemporary, London, UK (2020) and “JUGGLING SKILLS” at SMAC Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa (2019). Nyandoro co-represented Zimbabwe at the 56th Venice Biennale (2015) and is the winner of the Emerging Voices Award in Art from the Financial Times / Oppenheimier Funds, London. The artist studied at Harare Polytechnic College and the Chinhoyi University of Technology (Zimbabwe). Nyandoro was a resident at the Rijksakademie, Amsterdam (2014 - 2015) and SAM Art Projects, Paris (2016). Other previous solo exhibitions include: “Stalls of Fame” (2017) at Palais de Tokyo, Paris; “Gareth Nyandoro”, Galerie 23, Stichting Beeldende Kunst, Amsterdam(2015); “Weaving Life”, Gallery Delta, Harare (2013); and “Mutariri”, National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Harare (2012). The artist is represented in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York.