Interviews About Candice Allison
Johannesburg | South Africa | 1.3.2021
Fadzai Veronica Muchemwa is a researcher, writer and curator from Harare, Zimbabwe, currently based between Harare and Grahamstown/Makhanda, South Africa; she’s also a master researcher in the Arts of Africa and Global Souths research program in the Fine Art Department at Rhodes University.
Her research explores new communities of protest and transgression, histories of cities, topographies of knowledge production and sites of transition. She founded in 2019 Practice Theory Collective with Candice Allison, a curatorial project reflecting on post-colonialism and colonialism questions.
AAAA: Since how long have you been involved in the contemporary African art scene?
FV: I became involved in the African Art scene via my work at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe in 2014 after almost 12 years as an educator. I was for the 2 years of my time at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe the curator for Education and Public Programs a position that allowed me to use my experience as an educator. More than anything I got to spend time reflecting on exhibitions on display and to think what art can do for me.
AAAA: Is there a project you are particularly proud of?
FV: I am proud to have worked on a solo exhibition project by Isaac Kalambata at the Lusaka National Gallery in 2018. I have always curated exhibitions with collaborators and enjoyed working collaboratively. This was the first time where I made curatorial decisions on my own and get to see the process though. I got to participate in his process and got to know him better. I was gratified in working with an artist for whom research was as much part of his process as the final art object on the gallery wall. I felt like I was awakened from a state of sleepwalking. A year later in 2019 during my curatorial residency at the Bag Factory Artists’ Studios, I founded Practice Theory Collective with Candice Allison and we have been working on a curatorial intervention, The Apothecary for the Post-Colonial Condition. Through the collective, we are practicing ‘slow curating’. Our main aim is to focus on research and reflective practice. This project brings a lot together of what the collective focuses on and believes in but also replicates my personal interests. I have decided to become more intentional in what I focus on and who I collaborate with especially so in the face of the sheer volume of content in the age of abundance, and disruption in ways of looking, seeing and producing.
AAAA: Tell us about your curatorial practice and work method
FV: My research has been more and more moving towards exploring not just communities of protest and new forms of knowledge production to looking at ‘small acts of care’ found in acts of solidarity and revolution and rebellion. My curatorial and research practice resides mainly in reflecting on possibilities and working in difficult spaces and negotiating how recovery is a slow contemplative process. My move to Grahamstown and the decision to start on my master’s at Rhodes University and specifically the Arts of Africa and the Global Souths research program came from that desire to have time to reflect. And is has been a space for deep collaborative and contemplative thought with like-minded artists, thinkers, scholars and educators.
About Fadzai Veronica Muchemwa is part of the column “Women” dedicated to the women involved in the art scene on and about the African continent.
The aim of the column is to give space to women – in or connected – to the continent’s art scene. A space in which experiences, opinions and realities can be read and loved by everyone, focused on women and their empowerment.
If you know of any woman that should take part please invite her to get in touch. Thank you, we appreciate your contribution.