First Floor Gallery Harare53 Samora Machel Ave, Harare, Zimbabwe
Born in 2009, in a tiny downtown room in Harare, next to a tailors’ workshop, the gallery defies clichés of African art, while supporting the emerging artists in Harare with opportunities to experiment, learn and build professional skills. Since then First Floor has gone from strength to strength, with its experimental exhibition and artist development programme. The first gallery in Zimbabwe to recognise the need to connect with international art audiences, it took exhibitions to Paris and Bangkok, attracting collectors and press as far wide as New York, Sydney and Hong Kong. For its debut at Kunstvlaai and in The Netherlands, First Floor Gallery Harare is bring the works of its strongest artists Moffat Takadiwa and Wycliffe Mundopa. Both artists belong to the “born free” generation, who never knew colonial Rhodesia. They share with their young and ancient nation the turbulence, challenges and ambitions of entering the world as equals among equals. Moffat Takadiwa’s sculptural installations poetically re-animate discarded technologies into philosophical fetishes of contemporary life and culture. Conversely Wycliffe Mundopa’s paintings and stencils and collages pierce the daily life of women and children of Harare with poignancy, passion and depth. Both artists speak passionately, with an honest reflection on the dynamic diversities of life in contemporary Zimbabwe which is equally informed by pride in their country and the deep philosophy and wisdom of Shona tradition. First Floor Gallery Harare will also premier a short film reflecting on the gallery’s first two years of life and contemporary art in Harare.