nora chipaumire's video installation receives its first showing in Spain and opens the ÍDEM Festival alongside Olho da Rua [Out Loud] by Jonathas de Andrade.
Centred on the different dynamics of colonisation, this audiovisual piece introduces us to Nehanda, a spirit worshipped by the Shona people of Zimbabwe and Mozambique, and her medium Charwe Nyakasikana, a revolutionary leader who orchestrated the first uprisings against the British Empire in 1889.
In 1890, eighty-six years after Haiti emerged as the first African republic in the west, Cecil John Rhodes crossed the River Limpopo and hoisted the Union Jack flag. In 1893 he “defeated” the Ndebele and obtained mining rights under the highly dubious Rudd Concession. Three years later, in 1896, he defended these acquisitions on behalf of the queen of England and to the detriment of the Shona people, who would take ninety-four years to tear down the British flag. The work that began 1896 continues to this day.
The three videos that make up Arias. Nehanda have a running time of fifteen minutes and form part of the multimedia sculpture Afternow (2021). They speak about Nehanda, the spirit worshipped by the Shona people, native to Zimbabwe and Central Mozambique, who inhabits women only, and about her medium Charwe Nyakasikana, a revolutionary leader who orchestrated the revolts of 1889. Together they rise up to lead the first Chimurenga—spirit of war—against Cecil John Rhodes and the British colonisation of Zimbabwe.
nora chipaumire has been taking part in the ÍDEM Festival since 2019, when she presented her dance spectacle #PUNK for the first time in Spain. In the 2020 festival, which took place in digital format that year, she held two online encounters: one with Swiss creator Milo Rau and the other with the ÍDEM curator Marisa Lull. In 2021 La Casa Encendida and Arts Center Vooruit (Belgium) co-produced the radio opera Nehanda, which was broadcast in episodes on La Casa Encendida Radio. The opera examines the historical crimes committed by the British in the illegally occupied Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) through the history of the Shona people. In 2022 the artist will make her final contribution to the ÍDEM Festival with the video installation Arias Nehanda, which will be shown in the Tower.
The complete Nehanda project comprises different types of media and ecosystems: performance, sound installation, private radio (WiFM ZiFM) and a book with cassette tapes. The project was made possible thanks to the support of La Casa Encendida, Arts Center Vooruit, Kunstencentrum, Callies-Berlin and the Lincoln Center NYC, and Company Chipaumire.
nora chipaumire was born in 1965 in what was then known as Umtali, Rhodesia (Mutare, Zimbabwe). She is the product of colonial education for black native Africans, known as group B schooling. She has pursued other studies at the University of Zimbabwe (law) and Mills College, Oakland, California (dance).
Video producer: Mieke Ulfig
Running time: 15 minutes
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