Portia Zvavahera at STEVENSON


Artist: Portia Zvavahera

Exhibition title: What I See Beyond Feeling

Venue: STEVENSON, Johannesburg,

Date: November 3, 2016 – January 27, 2017

Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and STEVENSON, Johannesburg

STEVENSON Johannesburg is pleased to present a solo exhibition by Portia Zvavahera titled What I See Beyond Feeling.

In new works on canvas and paper, Zvavahera combines exuberant gestural painting with areas of finely detailed mono-printing in depictions of spiritual and emotional topographies.

Zvavahera points to her dreams as a crucial source of inspiration and positions the works in this exhibition as visualisations of pivotal dreamscapes. Describing herself as working with ‘what I see with spiritual eyes’, she explains:

As human beings we have dreams – we are told about our future and our past through dreams. This is what I’m trying to speak about. As I’m sleeping I see things … I cannot tell others what I see, only the emotions, the feelings that I try to transfer to the canvas. When you have a dream it’s like when you look at a painting: there’s a focal point. In the dream there’s this thing that strikes you, and that’s where I create my painting.

The ecstatic lovers of Zvavahera’s previous exhibition, I Can Feel It in My Eyes, are transmuted here into angelic and human beings entwined in images of suffering and solace. The motif of the lace wedding gown becomes a veil that both protects, embracing the figure in an exploration of surface and detail, and allows access through to what lies beneath. Beyond the union of lovers, it symbolises the marriage of the earthly and spiritual, dream and reality, human and divine, future and past, torment and safety. The figures in What I See Beyond Feeling are elated and burdened, demonstrative and meditative.

This is Zvavahera’s fourth exhibition with the gallery. Her work is currently included on Body Luggage: Migration of Gestures curated by Zasha Colah for the steirischer herbst festival in Graz, Austria.






M2_IMG_1448 Handidi Kuzviona

Portia Zvavahera, Handidi Kuzviona, 2016
Oil-based printing ink and oil bar on paper, 269 x 200cm


Portia Zvavahera, What I Saw, 2016
Oil-based printing ink and oil bar on canvas, 199 x 332cm


Portia Zvavahera, Vese Vakanddibata (They all gave me strength), 2016, Oil-based printing ink and oil bar on canvas, 199 x 315cm


Portia Zvavahera, Sacred Vessels, 2016
Oil-based printing ink and oil bar on canvas, 269 x 200cm


Portia Zvavahera, Pane Vaviri Ndiriwetatu [1], 2016
Oil-based printing ink and oil bar on canvas, 297 x 201cm