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