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ARTISTS

Tapfuma Gutsa

Tapfuma Gutsa’s work, both as artist and workshop leader, has transformed art practice in Zimbabwe and beyond. In this, his first solo UK exhibition, he explores the physical and metaphorical possibilities of a range of natural materials, from granite and oak, to horn, egg shell, bone and clay.

Tapfuma’s use of materials both advances and subverts the tradition of stone sculpture that dominated Zimbabwean art through the 1960s and 70s. Beyond the confidence and elegance of his objects’ forms, his choice of materials brings to the works an almost shamanistic power. He explains: “objects such as buffalo horns are used by medicine men to empower and strengthen the warrior before battle – in this sense the shaman creates an object that can acquire meaning and influence people, just as an AK47 or a bible can wield influence and power – I am therefore interested in creating ‘gadgets of influence’ – enigmatic forms that are intrinsically functional, in the sense that medicines or weapons are functional. It is a kind of alchemy”.

His works narrate stories of voyages, migrations, life cycles, battles and power. The 2004 installation Ngara combines stone and buffalo horn in the form of a funerary boat. The vessel is filled with artefacts – axes, knives, bones, ritual objects. He describes the work as “an epic story that talks about the slave trade, the trade of goods and artefacts… to make a full-scale study of these things I would have to turn up at the British Museum because most of the material and the cultural fabric of Africa is vanishing.”

Gutsa studied art at the Dreifontein Mission School in Zimbabwe, and later became the first recipient of a British Council award to Zimbabwe. With this scholarship he studied for three years at the City and Guilds School of Art in London between 1982-1985, where he was awarded a Diploma in sculpture. After returning to Zimbabwe, he organised, in 1988, the first of a series of Pachipamwe Workshops, under the Triangle arts model, bringing together younger and more well-established artists to explore new directions for Zimbabwean art. He went on to establish the Surprise studios in 1997, providing studio space for a generation of Zimbabwean artists. In 1990, his work was included in Grace Stanislaus’ seminal exhibition ‘African Artists: Changing Traditions’ at the Studio Museum, Harlem, and he has since participated in numerous international exhibitions, workshops and residency programmes. He currently lives and works in Vienna, Austria.

Exhibitions

Voyages - Crossing the Lake of Fire
Tapfuma Gutsa
Angaza Afrika
The Cypher by Tapfuma Gutsa
The Cypher
Ancient Voyages by Tapfuma Gutsa
Ancient Voyages
The Embrace by Tapfuma Gutsa
The Embrace
Tribute to Sango by Tapfuma Gutsa
Tribute to Sango

He Speaks Down  to Us
He Speaks Down to Us
Lightning by Tapfuma Gutsa
Lightning
The Miracle of Moses by Tapfuma Gutsa
The Miracle of Moses
Ngavara by Tapfuma Gutsa
Ngavara

The Owl Gadget by Tapfuma Gutsa
The Owl Gadget
The Crook by Tapfuma Gutsa
The Crook
The Gate of No Return by Julien Sinzogan
Untitled
Genesis by Julien Sinzogan
Genesis

Tapfuma Gutsa Biography

Born 1956 in Harare, Zimbabwe
Education/Ausbildung: St.Ignatius College, Chishawasha. Driefontein
Mission: Woodcarving workshop under Cornelius Manguma (1978 -1979).
City and Guild School of Art, London, U.K.(British Council Scholarship)

Selected Exhibitions
2011   54th VENICE BIENNALE - Zimbabwean Pavilion
2008   ANGAZA AFRIKA - October Gallery, London. Group Exhibition
2007   VOYAGES - CROSSING THE LAKE OF FIRE, October Gallery London.
    UNCOMFORTABLE TRUTHS – Victoria & Albert Museum, London. Group Exhibition
2006   TAPFUMA GUTSA, October Gallery, London
2005   TRANSITIONS - Brunei Gallery, School of Afro-Asiatic Studies, University of London. Group Exhibition
    WASSER BRENT - Gallery Habari, Vienna. Group Exhibition
2004   DAK`ART - Dakar Biennale, Senegal      
    VISIONS OF ZIMBABWE - Manchester City Art Gallery, Manchester. Group Exhibition
    STEP INSIDE - Group Exhibition, Gallery Dieleman, Chateau de Petit Leez, Belgium
2003   THE POWER, THE OBJECT – THE OBJECT, THE POWER, Alliance Francaise, Harare. Solo Exhibition
2002   KAKUYU KE MUNYAKA - Gallery Dieleman, Chateau de Petit Leez,  Belgium Group show together with Berry Bickle
2001   Art for the people - COMPLETION AND OPENING OF PROJECT SURPRISE ART CENTRE (Plan and execution by Tapfuma Gutsa 1997 - 2001
2000   SOUTH MEETS WEST, Kunsthalle Bern, Switzerland. Group Exhibition.
1999   Artist’s Residency at Künstlerhaus CUXHAVEN: Eddie Masaya, Richard Jack
and Tapfuma Gutsa
VISITING LECTURER at the University of Athens, Georgia, U.S.A.
1998   ZIMBABWE HERITAGE, NGZ, Harare
1997   LANDMARK - The Midlands Artists, NG Bulawayo
THE PAST - Pierre Gallery, Harare / Solo Exhibition
THE FUTURE - NGZ, Harare, Solo Exhibition
ONDAMBO - Intern. Art Workshop Arandis, Namibia
Sculpture from Zimbabwe, Melbourne, Australia
1996   SEEKING PERMISSION - Solo Show at REECE GALLERY New York
1995   JOHANNESBURG BIENNALE
GENESIS, GALLERY MUENSTERLAND, Emsdetten, Germany
180 DEGREES- Group Exhibition, Los Angeles
1994   STRONG WINDS, Stage Design, Arnolfini Theater, Bristol
Palmengarten / Frankfurt, ALLIANCE FRANCAISE- Harare, GALLERY DEL
TA-Harare
1993   GALLERY KNUTH GROTHE, Finland
OPEN STUDIOS, Group Exhibition Delfina Studios, London,
1992   Sandro’s Gallery, Harare, Tapfuma Gutsa - Sculpture and paintings by Nicole
Gutsa
1991   CONTEMPORARY STONE SCULPTURE FROM ZIMBABWE, Yorkshire
Sculpture Park, VENICE BIENNALE, African Pavillon
NEW GENERATION, Tapfuma Gutsa, Eddie Masaya, Richard Jack, Brighton
Sango, Norbert
Shamuyarira, LE FORUM, Harare
HAVANNA BIENNALE, Cuba
1990   CONTEMPORARY AFRICAN ART, Group Exhibition , Studio Museum,
Harlem, New York
1989   PACHIPAMWE INTERNATIONAL ARTISTS W/SHOP, Exhibition Harare
1988   Drawings and Paintings by BERRY BICKLE and Sculptures by TAPFUMA
GUTSA Gallery, Delta; Harare
1987   UTONGA - Sculptures and Drawings, One man exhibition, Harare
1985   New Horizons, Royal Festival Hall, London U.K.
    HOPE - Botanical Gardens, Berlin
    KUNST AUS ZIMBABWE - KUNST IN ZIMBABWE, Bayreuth Museum, Germany
    BY GINDE: OF ZEN, A FEW POTS AND OTHER THINGS – Galerie der Freischaffenden, Vienna, Austria. Solo Exhibition
1981   Gallery Delta, Harare
Awards
1981   Oxyco Weldart, National Gallery, Harare
1986   Nedlaw Sculpture Award, Nat. Gallery, Harare
1992   Johnson & Fletcher Award, Ability in Wood, Harare
1993   Artist’s Residency Programme, Delfina Studios, London,
1995   President’s Award of Honour, Zimbabwe Heritage,Harare
2003   NAMA AWARD,(National Award for the Arts)
Best achievement Zimbabwean sculpture
   
October Gallery, 24 Old Gloucester Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1N 3AL Tel: + 44 (0)20 7242 7367 Fax: + 44 (0)20 7405 1851