Zimbabwe

Restaging Opium for the People

On the cusp of the 2013 elections Zimbabweans wait to see if the competition for power in their country will bring them the same kind of violence the 2008 elections did.

For the second time in a row Zimbabwe will participate in the Venice Biennale. Once again the chief curator of Zimbabwe’s National Gallery will curate the pavilion. The gallery is of course much endorsed by the current Zimbabwean government and the investment into the pavilion is seen as an opportunity to show the world that Zimbabwe “has arrived and is a great place to visit.”

In reality Zimbabwe is a nation where political strife, repression, and intimidation are commonplace. Many of the country’s greatest artists live in exile or silence, fearing for their lives, those who speak out against the government certainly are not rewarded or supported by the likes of the National Gallery. At a time when the nation’s economy is still in tatters, and where unemployment and poverty are endemic one has to wonder at the theme for the pavilion.

Is re-examining religious beliefs and its role in society, as the Zimbabwe exhibition purports to do, not just another variation of the well-known theme of “opium for the people”?

Anonymous

http://venicebiennale2013.ideologicalguide.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/venetie_small_2x.jpg

Pavilion

Organizer/Commissioner:
The National Gallery of Zimbabwe
Artists:
Portia Zvavahera; Michele Mathison; Voti Thebe; Rashid Jogee; Virginia Chihota
Curator:
Raphael Chikukwa

Curator

Name:
Raphael Chikukwa
Gender:
Male
Born:
Zimbabwe
Lives and works in:
Zimbabwe
No. of participations in the venice biennale:
2

Artist

Name:
Virginia Chihota
Gender:
Female
Born:
Zimbabwe, 1983
Lives and works in:
Zimbabwe
No. of participations in the venice biennale:
1

Artist

Name:
Rashid Jogee
Gender:
Male
Born:
Zimbabwe, 1951
Lives and works in:
Zimbabwe
No. of participations in the venice biennale:
1

Artist

Name:
Voti Thebe
Gender:
Male
Born:
Zimbabwe, 1953
Lives and works in:
Zimbabwe
No. of participations in the venice biennale:
1

Artist

Name:
Michele Mathison
Gender:
Female
Born:
Zimbabwe
Lives and works in:
South Africa
No. of participations in the venice biennale:
1

Artist

Name:
Portia Zvavahera
Gender:
Female
Born:
Zimbabwe, 1985
No. of participations in the venice biennale:
1

Politics & Economics

State System:
Semi-presidential republic
Ruling Political Party:
Power shared between president Mugabe (ZANU-PF) and the Movement for Democratic Change, the party led by prime-minister Morgan Tsvangirai
Population (World Bank, 2011):
12,754,378
GDP per capita (World Bank, 2011):
$757
World Bank credit:
$18,750,000
Net OECD ODA Aid Received (2011):
$718,230,000
Military Expenditure (SIPRI, 2011):
$318,000,000

Alliances


World Bank debt
Non-Aligned Movement
WTO

Conflicts

Country independent since:
1980 (from Britain)
Global Militarization Index (BICC, 2011):
87
Nuclear Force?
Yes
Ongoing Conflicts and Disputes:
President Robert Mugabe, in office since 1980, agreed to an historic power-sharing deal with the opposition in September 2008, following months of political turmoil. Relationship has been troubled and Zimbabwe faces where stark poverty, political strife and repression.
Participation in Multinational Missons:
UN peacekeeping missions in Darfur, Ivory Coast, Liberia, and Sudan.