Last week I visited London’s Tiwani Contemporary to see its latest exhibition entitled ‘Come Forth as Gold‘ featuring artist Virginia Chihota.
The artist was born in 1983 in Chitungwiza, Zimbabwe and currently lives and works in Podgorica, Montenegro. She graduated in Fine Arts from the National Art Gallery Studios in Harare, Zimbabwe in 2006. Chihota represented Zimbabwe at the 55th Venice Biennale in 2013 and was awarded the Prix Canson in the same year. Recent exhibitions include: Goodman Gallery, Cape Town (2015); Saatchi Gallery (2015); Kunsthalle Faust, Hannover (2014); Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (2014); and the Lyon Biennale (2011).
The exhibition title makes reference to a passage in the Old Testament Book of Job. Job, considering his plight, compares himself to gold that is tried in a crucible, coming forth purer following the application of fire, which serves to separate every particle of impurity or alloy and leave only the pure metal. The notion of rebirth following self-reflection is central to the exhibition.
In recent years, Chihota has submitted her life, particularly her recent experience of marriage and motherhood, to thoughtful observation, producing a body of work of striking formal complexity, full of religious symbolism and allusions to the female body. The theme of renewal and rebirth is carried out through Chihota’s iconography, which conveys the fragility of the human figure, often trapped within womb-like membranes
As a recurring motif in Chihota’s work, the womb, alongside eggs and patterns of seeding and growing, shows a continued exploration of the themes of motherhood and change. On the body as an inspiration central to her work, Chihota observes:
‘The body, though it is strong, remains limited: it is only the spirit within it that makes it a “life”. I am always looking to depict that form within the spirit.’
Whilst I would describe the collection of work as both interesting and provocative, it would have been nice to have seen additional pieces to further entertain my curiosity with her work.
The show runs until October 29th. For further information please visit the Tiwani Contemporary 16 Little Portland Street, London W1W 8BP or http://www.tiwani.co.uk/exhibitions/