Fine Art master’s student Wallen Mapondera is on track in his meteoric rise to international recognition in the art circles. Born in Zimbabwe, the 33-year-old is currently exhibiting a body of work titled Samusha Weiri Dongo at the prestigious SMAC Gallery in Johannesburg from 1 – 24 February 2018.
This is Mapondera’s seventh solo exhibition following years of group exhibitions all over the continent. He will be leaving for Switzerland after the exhibition to take up a Pro Helvetia Studio Residency.
The master’s student lives and works in Grahamstown when he is not touring the world exhibiting and partaking in art residencies and international art fairs. He has taken his art to Australia, Germany and France.
Trained at the National Gallery School of Visual Arts and Design in 2005, Mapondera was selected for the National Gallery of Zimbabwe Artist-in-Residence Programme, hosted at the National Gallery School of Visual Arts and Design Studios in Harare.
The residency culminated in his first solo exhibition, titled Mazuva Oze (Everyday) at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe in Harare. He has since held multiple shows and participated in various local group exhibitions.
In 2015, he was the recipient of Zimbabwe’s prestigious National Arts Merit Award – in the Visual Arts Two-Dimensional Work category – given by the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe in recognition of outstanding achievements in arts and culture.
During 2016, he was named as a winner of the AIR (Artist-In-Residency) Award Laureate, awarded by the African Centre, and he subsequently took up residency at the Kuona Trust in Kenya. In 2017, Mapondera featured as part of SMAC Gallery’s booth at the 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair in London. The residency was concluded with his solo presentation, entitled Paint My Tea Pot, at Tafaria Castle in Kenya.
Source Rhodes University