Following a successful run of three exhibitions this year already, First Floor Gallery Harare (FFG) opened their fourth on 11 June.
Eve’s Diaries is Mavis Tauzeni’s first solo show. Her chosen medium is acrylic and ink on canvas and her pieces deal with her insights into the struggle faced by women. Specifically, Tauzeni dives into the question of what it means to be a woman and, more specifically, what it means to be a young Zimbabwean woman.
Speaking to Harare News on the opening night, FFG curator Valerie Kabov said, “Answers to the questions of what it means to be a young woman living in Zimbabwe are sought by every young woman in Zimbabwe today. And while the questions are few, the answers are as complex and as unique as the women called upon to answer them.” With her striking and sometimes visceral imagery in bold colours, Tauzeni challenges her audience to engage with these questions.
In her artist’s statement to the show, Tauzeni writes, “For me this body of work then, is a chronicle of a journey through the eyes of a female – her strength, her weakness, wishes, dreams, fears, aspirations, fantasies, her vision and views, her unheard voice.” This needs expression because of the rift between the opportunities of modern life and the paradigms and gender roles that sustained previous generations.
Kabov clarifies this conflict saying, “From the tensions between opportunities to pursue one’s dreams and ambitions and the expectations of becoming a wife and a mother, from the challenges of having your voice heard in a male dominated field to not losing your femininity at the same time.”
Like the answers Tauzeni is looking for in Eve’s Diaries, her approach to painting and composition is open ended, allowing her audience to step into her vision – with a sense of wonder and exploration – at times hopeful at what can be and also rueful at what is. Her figuration is only a suggestion of form, a clue for you to investigate as you develop your own line of thought around these issues, your own impressions, and your own questions and resolutions.
Tauzeni said, “I am trying to give a voice to the untold stories of women in a growing and evolving cultural, intellectual, and mental context. My work is inspired by my personal experiences and observing the environment I interact with.”
A graduate of the Peter Birch Art School and the National Gallery of Zimbabwe’s School of Visual Art and Design, Mavis Tauzeni has been a professional artist for ten years. Her work has featured at many group exhibitions both locally and internationally, among them the 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair in London, the Berliner Liste 2013 Art Fair in Berlin, I am, I was, I could be and Chiso – Face Group Exhibition, both at FFG.
Eve’s Diaries runs till 28 July. Visit First Floor Gallery at 2nd Floor, Mercury House, 24 George Silundika Avenue.