The National Gallery of Zimbabwe has a strong curatorial team headed by Raphael Chikukwa and assisted by Fadzai V Muchemwa. The curatorial department is responsible for conceiving and realizing the exhibitions in the Gallery.This Department through its Chief Curator it works with the acquisition team, bringing works to the team for acquisition. Currently the curatorial Department is advising the acquisition team to invest funds to acquire works from notable African artists because most of these works are in Western Museums. As an international contemporary art Museum, artment has a strong link with international Museums, artists, art institutions and curators.
This gives this department an opportunity to run international programmes that include, research, exhibitions, artist talks, curatorial seminars, traveling exhibitions, and exchanges programs.
“With the changing roles of curators internationally, in 2011, formally education officer position was changed to, Curator of Education. The Curatorial department plays a critical role in the day-to-day running of the Gallery programmes. These departments also do studio visits and organize professional development workshops throughout Zimbabwe.
Each year the Curatorial Department seeks to strengthen and build new relationships with those who wants to see the Gallery growing. With your support, we are not alone in our dream to change the contemporary visual arts landscape in Zimbabwe”, said Raphael Chikukwa
Born in Zimbabwe and worked mainly as an independent curator for ten years before joining the National Gallery of Zimbabwe mid 2010 as Chief Curator. His qualifications and international experience earned this position at the national institution, which he hopes to change the visual arts landscape of Zimbabwe. In his dream to change the Zimbabwean contemporary art landscape Chikukwa conceived and curated the first Zimbabwe Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale 2011. Chikukwa was, awarded the 2006 – 2007 Chevening Scholar and now holds an MA Curating Contemporary Design from Kingston University London.
The 2nd Johannesburg Biennale in 1997 provided an impetus to Raphael’s curatorial career after working as a volunteer guide for the Biennale. He later moved to his home country Zimbabwe as a process of relocation to his motherland. Chikukwa is a founding staff member of the PUMA funded Creative Africa Network as an editor and advisor of the project from 2008 – 2009. He was among seven Curators from Africa attending the Tate Modern Symposium “Curating Africa where he presented a paper on his curatorial practice. In 2008, Chikukwa represented Africa at the 2008 Art Basel Miami Conversations in the United States of America. The American Centre Foundation also awarded Raphael a curatorial research grant from 2006 to 2007 and he travelled in West Africa for his curatorial research.
Chikukwa has curated a number of exhibitions mainly in the United Kingdom and Zimbabwe and has taken part in a number of forums at the Dakar Biennale from 2004 – 2008. Some of the notable exhibitions he curated includes: Visions of Zimbabwe 2004; (Manchester Art Gallery UK and African Heroes Exhibition 2006/2007 (Imperial War Museum North UK; Face to Face (National Gallery of Zimbabwe 2004 HIFA), and Siyaphambili 2000 National Gallery of Zimbabwe. He has also taken part in a number of International Contemporary Art forums in Austria, Botswana, Egypt, France, Kenya, Tanzania, Senegal, South Africa, Switzerland, Italy, United Kingdom, United States of America, and in his home country Zimbabwe. Chikukwa Raphael has also been part of the Africa Remix talk at the Centre Pompidou 2005 in Paris France. In Zimbabwe, he has coordinated a number of International Art Critic Forums at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe during HIFA since the year 2000 up 2004. Raphael Chikukwa is also searching for ways to reengage the Zimbabwean contemporary art scene with the international art community.