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Dana Whabira

Dana Whabira is Artist in Residence at the Academy from October to December 2022 and is affiliated with the Studio of Art and Digital Media lead by Constanze Ruhm and by IKW.

Dana Whabira is an artist and cultural facilitator, who lives and works in Harare. Trained as an architect, she later studied art and design at Central Saint Martin’s College in London (2011). Whabira employs a research-focused and context-driven experimental practice that is concerned with space, cartography and giving shape to critical understandings of how we can live together. She is the founder of Njelele art station, an independent space that focuses on the generation of projects through research, experimentation and exchange. Njelele art station is there to generate a critical gaze on society and history and foster notions of interconnection, community and conviviality.

Whabira has exhibited widely, in addition to taking up art residencies and giving talks locally and internationally. Her first solo exhibition Suspended in Animation was held at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe (2013). She has participated in a number of group exhibitions including Undefined Territories, MACBA, Barcelona (2019), Cosmopolis #1.5 Enlarged Intelligence, Mao Jihong Arts Foundation, Chengdu (2019), Measure the Valleys, Parcours d’art contemporain en vallée du Lot, Maison des Arts Georges & Claude Pompidou, Cajarc (2018), Tracing Obsolesence, Apexart, New York City (2018) and Towards Intersections, Museum of Africa, Johannesburg and UNISA Art Gallery, Pretoria (2015). Whabira participated in the Kampala Art Biennale (2020), Mercosul Biennale (2020), Dak'Art Biennale (2018) and represented Zimbabwe at the 57th Venice Biennale (2017). 

Whilst on residency, Dana Whabira will extend ongoing research into the role of women in the production of space, to focus on ancient erotic wisdom and the Venus of Willendorf tracing correspondences between Austria and Zimbabwe. Related to this are questions about the knowledge that is encoded into objects and images of women from the past, about the liberatory nature of the erotic, and the potentiality for the future through the lens of female erotic power.