ilizwe | nyika | nation exhibition 2021

09 April to 10 July 2021

To watch the exhibition opening please follow the link

Ilizwe/Nyika/Nation Collaboration was produced in 2019 by artists at a residency held at the National Gallery of Bulawayo.

This collaboration is multidisciplinary work investigating different values and ideologies attached to the land, national identity, boundaries, and belonging in Southern Africa and Zimbabwe and aimed to encourage collaboration between South African and Zimbabwean artists across artistic disciplines. Land is a sensitive issue in both South Africa and Zimbabwe with both countries’ colonial histories, struggles for independence, and forced removals. Land ownership and land rights are still contentious issues in the neighbouring states. Land and gender are charged topics as both countries struggle with transformation and healing from colonialism and apartheid. The collective (mainly comprised of female artists) developed the work through a series of workshopped processes that allowed them to collectively explore histories and narratives (personal and historical) around gender and land.

The group also chose to explore the historical narrative of Ndebele Queen Lozikeyi and the Ndebele people in connection to a historical site of Hillside Dam in Bulawayo. The site is said to be the location of King Lobengula’s favourite royal village to which he escaped to relax in the 19th Century. The collaboration process included completing the facilitation sessions on how we were going to unpack the conceptual themes of land and gender in the collaborative work.

The collaborating artists chose to explore performance and video art as the mediums and so set about constructing costumes and developing the depth of each character in the narrative News headlines around gender-based violence were brought into sharp focus at the time of the residency when the work was produced with the enough is enough protests, while at the same time xenophobic attack flared up in South Africa and the ex-president of Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe passed away ushering in a new political era.

The approach of democratic collaboration made it possible to explore these events in relation to our topic in a sensitive manner as a group over the residency period.

Collaborating Artists include: Deborah Weber, Elgin Rust, Jolene Cartmill, Lady Tshawe, Nomvuyiso Mpofu, Shamilla Aasha, Zandile Masuku and Cliford Zulu.

Contact: Cliford Zulu –

About the Artists

Deborah Weber: Born in Johannesburg in 1979, is an alumni student of UCT Michaelis School of Fine Art who graduated with a BAFA in 2004 and a Post Graduate Diploma in Fine Arts in 2015 and her MAFA in 2020. She is a performance, video and installation artist and has worked collaboratively since 2001. Her renewed interest in collaboration started in 2014 with the initiation of a co-authored work on fracking in the Karoo called Karoo Disclosure, followed by Ubulungiswa/Justice Collaboration in 2015. Deborah investigated the methodologies and strategies of producing collaborative work in her MAFA research completed in 2020 at UCT. Karoo Disclosure was exhibited at the South African National Museum in Cape Town and the Oliewenhuis Museum in Bloemfontein as well as That Art Fair and the Prince Albert Film Festival in the Western Cape. Ubulungiswa/Justice has been shown at the Michealis Gallery UCT, the AVA Gallery CT, Assemblage project in Alexander JHB and Chale Wote Festival in Ghana. Deborah has worked in the creative industries for many years from the Bell-Roberts Gallery in Loop street to the Brett Kebble Art Awards, Cape Africa Biennial and Design Indaba.

Elgin Rust: was born in Düsseldorf, Germany, in 1974. She is a South African artist who received her MFA with distinction at the University of Cape Town in 2010. Rust is a mixed media practitioner making use of printmaking, sculpture and performative installations in her self-motivated and collaborative oeuvre. She playfully re-imagines legal procedure and theories to give rise to new meaning using image and objects alike. Under the #truthtroughplay her process driven work embraces techniques from wood carving, slip casting ceramics to performative collaborative all immersive site-specific installations. Rust has participated in solo, group and collaborative exhibitions at the AVA Gallery and the Oliewenhuis Art Museum as well as participating at Chale Wote Street Art Festival 2018, Ghana with the collaborative project Ubulungiswa/Justice 2015. Currently she is preparing for a collaborative residency at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe scheduled for September 2019.

Jolene Cartmill Born in South Africa in 1981. Studied film & TV production in Cape Town. Specialized in directing music videos. Has been involved in the production (directing, filming, editing) of many documentaries, shorts and other video and film projects over the last 20 years (with work shown at Encounters Festival, ResFest Africa, Design Indaba, as well as on at least 60 different TV channels globally, and… the internet). A collaborator in the 2015 collaborative art project Ubulungiswa/Justice. Jolene facilitates process dance and is a managing board member of the organisation “Dance Awake”. Currently working on multiple projects including a commissioned body of work around ‘Rites of Passage’ involving dance, music creation, and art film a documentary.

Lady Tshawe:  born in Bulawayo Zimbabwe in 1990. She is an award-winning, multi-talented artist, and her artistic style, expression, and image embody her abilities, aspirations, and achievements. She is a force whose convictions and views about equal opportunities for self-expression influence her writing, theatrical roles, music, and conversations. She advocates for expressing herself as a person, which is far from the need to be afforded privileges because she is a woman. She aspires to influence the performing, entertainment, and research sectors globally.

Nomvuyiso MarbleMabi: Nomvuyiso Marble Mabi Mpofu is a full-time actress for film and theatre, living in Bulawayo Zimbabwe. She has a certificate in visual arts and did her art training at Mzilikazi art and craft center in 1997. Nomviyiso has won best female actress in plays at the Intwasa Arts Festival. She has also been nominated for awards at the NAMA and BAA arts awards in past years. She loves to combine her acting and performance with visual arts which you can see in this new collaborative art project where she plays the Warrior Queen.

Shamilla Aasha: Born in Hwange Zimbabwe in 1977, was raised and educated in Bulawayo eventually obtaining a Diploma in Textile Design from the Bulawayo School of Art and Design in 2000. She has participated in numerous workshops and exhibitions both locally and internationally. She has an art educationist background, with 12 years of experience. Although now; out of the formal education system I continue to nurture creativity through my trust- Asha Children’s Trust – a hub for young creatives. After a sabbatical from professional painting, she emerged in 2018 with a mature body of work whose narrative is influenced by issues of identity, merging cultures, and issues facing women in my society. Traditionally a mixed media painter but have now included textiles, which I regard as a fitting metaphor for my narratives. Shamilla expands on this metaphor using sewing patterns and stitching. Her highly calligraphic painting style allows me to create new patterns from the old and with each layer creating a palmistry language. This has also provided a foundation and informs her textile art, a new exciting path in her art process.

Zandile Vanessa Masuku: Born in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe on the 5th February 1983. She took art independently as the 10th subject at O’level and as a 4th at A’level. After obtaining the art subject prize she went on to study Architecture at the University of Brighton, England graduating in 2008 and moving to London the same year before returning to Zimbabwe in 2009. Whist in the UK she self-taught Alto Saxophone wrote poetry and performed the spoken word. Architecture provided the opportunity to visit multiple scales and notable galleries in England, France and Spain. In 2010 her son was born, which was a pivotal point in her life as she gained ambitiousness which she never had before. In 2012/13 and 2013/14 she was awarded ‘ The Best Female Artist award’ by V.A.A.B. In 2013 she had her first solo exhibition at The National Gallery of Zimbabwe in Bulawayo entitled ‘Dot connected’. her First International feature was in 2015 in Alberta, Canada. She has since shown at various galleries in group exhibitions abroad and locally. As an Environmentalist at heart, she hopes to create dialogues with other people and form more connections for collaborative opportunities.

Cliford Zulu : I am an artist and Curator, to me art means working with inspiration to discover more energy and transformable ideas. I am fascinated by design as such my approach is constructive and open.

Collaborations and new media practices are my starting point, discharging the energy when it arises in the space where both the artists and the audience are slightly out of their comfort zone. In leadership, I explore ways of building blocks with the artists and my audience enabling the spaces to engage the energy captured in the artwork. Working in a young art appreciating community, I work on a practical and at aesthetic level.  I find myself immersed in this new terminology around art management in the creative sector. after spending years as an artist, the transformation is somewhat puzzling yet the idea of growth through networking with artists and audiences in local and international spaces inspires the voyage. To this extend I focus on building projects from the design perspective with the artists put in motion by collaborative movements through interdisciplinary practices.

A lot is gained when it is shared and synergy is just an Academic term for the possible. Putting utopias into action is way more fun.

In association with

with support from

National Gallery of Zimbabwe in Bulawayo | 75 Joshua Nkomo street |  |