Street Art to Promote Representation: An Exhibition Series in Zimbabwe

Photo Credit: Faith Mkwananzi

Street Art to Promote Representation and Epistemic Justice among Marginalized Rural Zimbabwean Youth is a Changing the Story Phase 2 ECR project, which focuses on rural Binga, a significantly underdeveloped rural district located in Matabeleland North in Zimbabwe.  The project sought to document the experiences of the Tonga people who have been subject to marginalisation, social violence and exclusion through participatory street art with the aim of encouraging social cohesion.

To this end, graffitis produced by the youth were exhibited in the National Art Gallery in Bulawayo, the National Museum in Harare and at the Midland State University in Gweru.

Photo Credit: Faith Mkwananzi

 

Through the multi-city exhibitions, awareness was raised on the challenges experienced by the Tonga youth, and other minority groups who are often segregated, which created a dialogue with the audiences.

Photo Credit: Faith Mkwananzi

Photo Credit: Faith Mkwananzi

During the engagement with various stakeholders at the exhibitions, youth expressed their desire to be accepted as part of the broader community of young people of Zimbabwe, raising the disadvantage of being geographically and structurally marginalised. Such engagements created opportunities for discussion on the challenges of policy and practice in providing opportunities to youth in disadvantaged and hard to access communities.

Photo Credit: Faith Mkwananzi

Photo Credit: Faith Mkwananzi

Photo Credit: Faith Mkwananzi

The use of a creative arts method also allowed the youth the freedom of expression, and this confidence resulted from them working as a group and knowing that they are one voice.

Photo Credit: Faith Mkwananzi

Photo Credit: Faith Mkwananzi

Photo Credit: Faith Mkwananzi

During the exhibitions, artists and managers of museums and galleries had also developed an awareness about what the indigenous youth like the Binga people can do, and they became more familiar and receptive to the idea of creating spaces for youth to be more engaged with the arts methods and representing indigenous people.

Read more about the project here.