Kudzanai-Violet Hwami



Kudzanai-Violet Hwami was born in Gutu, Zimbabwe in 1993, and lived in South Africa from the ages of 9 to 17. She currently lives and works in the UK. In 2016, the same year she graduated from Wimbledon College of Arts with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, she was awarded the Clyde & Co. Award and the Young Achiever of the Year Award at the Zimbabwean International Women’s Awards, as well as being shortlisted for Bloomberg New Contemporaries. In 2017, she mounted her first solo show, If you keep going South, you’ll meet yourself, at Tyburn Gallery, which was critically acclaimed by critics and the press.

Hwami’s courageous and tender oil paintings reveal a deeply personal vision of Southern African life. Many of her paintings feature self-portraits and images of her immediate and extended family. Powerful nudes are another point of departure, boldly raising questions about the black body and its representation, as well as sexuality, gender and spirituality. Her influences include music, such as ZimHeavy & Afrobeats; literature, including the works of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and Carl Jung; and her own ongoing voyage of self-discovery.

The artist’s vivid work raises issues surrounding diaspora, displacement and identity. Her process involves experimenting with photography and digitally collaged images, using these to create large works on paper or canvas with intensely pigmented oil paint, and often incorporating other media and techniques, such as silkscreen, pastel or charcoal.

Recent group exhibitions include Les Ateliers de Rennes – Biennale d’Art Contemporain, curated by Céline Kopp and Étienne Bernard, Rennes, France (2018); Five Bhobh – Painting at the End of an Era, Zeitz MOCAA, Cape Town, South Africa (2018); Vos désirs sont les nôtres, Triangle France, Marseille, France (2018); Talisman in the Age of Difference, curated by Yinka Shonibare MBE, Stephen Friedman Gallery, London, UK (2018); Ladies by Ladies, Espace Art Absolument, Paris, France (2018); Afriques: artistes d’hier et d’aujourd’hui, Fondation Clément, Martinique (2018); and Discoloured Margins, National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe (2017).

In 2019, Hwami will present work at the 58th Venice Biennale as part of the Zimbabwe pavilion, as well as mounting her first institutional solo exhibition at Gasworks in London, UK. She will also begin an MFA at the Ruskin School of Art at Oxford University.



Master of Fine Arts, Ruskin School of Art, Oxford University, Oxford, UK.


Bachelor of Fine Arts, Concentration in Painting, Wimbledon College of Arts, London, UK.


BTEC National Diploma in Art and Design, North Manchester College.

Selected Solo Exhibitions


Kudzanai-Violet Hwami, Gasworks, London, UK. (forthcoming)


If You Keep Going South You'll Meet Yourself, Tyburn Gallery, London, UK.


We Made You Nations & Tribes, CornExchange, Manchester, UK.

Selected Group Exhibitions


Zimbabwean Pavilion, 58th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy. (forthcoming)


Les Ateliers de Rennes - Biennale d'Art Contemporain, curated by Céline Kopp and Étienne Bernard, Rennes, France. (forthcoming)

Five Bhobh – Painting at the End of an Era, Zeitz MOCAA, Cape Town, South Africa.

Vos désirs sont les nôtres, Triangle France, Marseille, France.

Talisman in the Age of Difference, curated by Yinka Shonibare MBE, Stephen Friedman Gallery, London, UK.

Ladies by Ladies, Espace Art Absolument, Paris, France.

Afriques: artistes d’hier et d'aujourd’hui, Fondation Clément, Martinique. Organised in collaboration with Musée Dapper, Paris, France.


Discoloured Margins, National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe.


RSA Open Exhibition, Royal Scottish Academy, Lower Galleries, Edinburgh, UK.

Black Blossoms Exhibition, UAL showroom, High Holborn, London, UK.

Affordable Art Fair Hampstead, London, UK.

Undergraduate Summer Show, Wimbledon College of Art, London, UK Find The Start, Copeland Gallery, London, UK.

It’s a Pleasure [Curated by Jacob Seddon], Greyhound Lane, London, UK.


Black History Festival exhibition, Union Gallery, Chelsea College of Arts, UK.

Drive-Thru, ArtsLav, London, UK.


ganda'Nga: weeping clay pot / Guest Project Africa Exhibition, Shonibare Studios, London, UK.


Visual Arts & Music Festival / NQ Pop-Up, Shudehill Studios, Manchester, UK

The Art of Football, The National Football Museum, Manchester, UK.



Dzimbanhete Arts and Culture Interactions Trust, Zimbabwe.


The Gathering, Kenya.

Biography & Press


Russeth, Andrew, Zimbabwe Taps Four for 2019 Venice Biennale Pavilion, artnews.com, 19 February 2019.
---, Zimbabwe Pavilion Announced Participating Artists and Title, contemporaryand.com, 21 February 2019.


Obuobi, Sharon, Episode 19: Kudzanai-Violet Hwami, IN STUDIO with Sharon, instudiowithso.com, 15 October 2018.

----, The insider’s guide to Contemporary African art, christies.com, 15 February 2018.

---, Distance is Rate and Time; Nostalgia in the Works of Kudzanai Violet Hwami, nationalgalleryofzimbabwe.com, 6 February 2018.


Meale, Cressida, No Shrinking Violet, Twin Magazine, October 2017, pp. 119-124.

Lowe, Rhiannon, If You Keep Going South You’ll Meet Yourself, CCQ Magazine, Issue 13, October 2017, pp. 44-51.

---, Kudzanai-Violet Hwami’s colourful canvases explore her African upbringing, Harper’s Bazaar, October 2017, p. 186.

Roberts, Sarah, Kudzanai-Violet Hwami’s paintings are a celebration of Afro-punk and the LGBTQ+ community, hero-magazine.com, 6 October 2017.

Forbes, Alexander and Gottschalk, Molly, 10 Artists to Watch at Frieze London, 1:54, and Sunday, artsy.net, 06 October 2017.

Black, Holly, Five Unmissable Artists from London’s African Art Fair, anothermag.com, 5 October 2017.

---, Focus on Africa, BBC News, 5 October 2017.

Smith, Andy, The Vibrant, Wide-Reaching Paintings of Kudzanai-Violet Hwami, hifructose.com, 13 September 2017.

Jason, Stefanie, 6 Artwork Highlights from Joburg Art Fair 2017, 10and5.com, 11 September 2017.

Gvero, Verna, At 1:54, a young(er) generation of artists take spotlight , happening.media, 4 October 2017.

---, The London shows to see this autumn, happening.media, 30th August 2017.

Donoghue, Katy, Touria El Glaoui on 1:54 Turning Fice and Expanding to Marrakech, whitewall.art, 4 October 2017.

Forbes, Alexander & Gottschalk, Molly, 10 Artist to watch at Frieze London, 1:54 and Sunday, artsy.net, 6 October 2017.

Thompson, Jessie, London art gallery guide: Kudzanai-Violet Hwami at Tyburn Gallery, standard.co.uk, 13 October 2017

---, Artist to watch at 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair, elephant.art, 7 October 2017

---. When in London… October brings Frieze, 1:54, and more, contemporaryand.com, 1 October 2017


Kudzanai-Violet Hwami, Kudzanai-Violet Hwami, queercircle.com, November 2016.

----, Artist Interview: Kudzanai-Violet Hwami, cassart.co.uk, 3 June 2016.

----, Winner of Cass Art Materials Grant – Kudzanai-Violet Hwami, madeinartslondon.wordpress.com, 8 April 2016.

Zinyembia,Tariro, Fungisai scoops Ziwa Award, hmetro.co.zw, 31 October 2016.




Nominee: Young Achiever of the Year, Zimbabwean International Women’s Awards.


Young Achiever of the Year, Zimbabwean International Women’s Awards.

Cass Art Materials Grant.

Winner: Clyde & Co Award.

Shortlisted: Bloomberg New Contemporaries.


Zeitz MOCAA, South Africa.

Nando’s Art Collection, UK.

Fondation Blachère, France.

Sindika Dokolo Foundation, Angola.

Josef Vascovitz & Lisa Goodman, USA.