New Arts Portal Connects Zimbabwe and Detroit

New Arts Portal Connects Zimbabwe and Detroit
March 13, 2015 paperlesslion
Zimbabwe Centre Detroit

Zimbabwe Centre Detroit

Art is the universal language. And thanks to Chido Johnson and A Public Pool, space and distance are no longer barriers to art’s expression from Zimbabwe to the Motor City.

See precisely what we mean at Public Pool’s upcoming show Kumusha, running Saturdays, 1-6 p.m., from Sept. 14 to Oct. 19 the new Zimbabwe Cultural Center of Detroit, located at 3309 Caniff in Hamtramck.

“Kumusha,” the Shona word for “home,” displays the results of cultural exchange happening through a digital portal in separate but identical bedrooms – one in the Zimbabwe Culutral Center of Detroit and another in the new Detroit Cultural Center of Zimbabwe.

Through the ZCCD-DCCZ Portal, musicians, visual artists, performance artists and others will talk to each other and respond to similar circumstances of politics, economics, life — the world — through art and across continents.

Chido Johnson is a CCS Professor and a Kresge Fellow. Also instrumental in opening the Zimbabwe Cultural Centre of Detroit and the new show Kumusha are Nontsikelelo Mutiti, Purchase College and NY artist, who, like Johnson, is from Zimbabwe; and Kumbulani Zamuchiya, a Documentary film-maker living in Zimbabwe.

For a glimpse of what’s in store, click here.

Details from the event organizers:

Artists from Detroit and Zimbabwe Connect Through a Bedroom Portal

Public Pool Art Space Exhibits the Results Sept. 14 – Oct. 19

A struggling economy, a population exodus, huge swatches of blight and abandonment, and a flurry of artists moving in to respond and fill the gap. Sounds like Detroit but it actually describes Zimbabwe, too.

So just how do artist respond to similar circumstance –– from one continent to another, from an entire country to a city, and from the visual arts to song to the written word, and beyond?

Find out at Public Pool’s upcoming show Kumusha, running September 14 to October 19. Kumusha, the Shona word for “home,” displays the results of cultural exchange happening through a digital portal in separate but identical bedrooms – one in the new Zimbabwe Cultural Center of Detroit and another in the new Detroit Cultural Center of Zimbabwe.

For one installation, artists received photographs of scenic views from the collaborating city, and turned them into drawings in postcard format. For another, a video recording of Zimbabwe singer Hope Masike sings Eminem’s I’m Sorry Mama, inspiring a response from Detroit singer Monica Blaire. In another, Chido Johnson carves on the living room floor of the Zimbabwe Cultural Centre in Detroit, turning the house into a printmaking woodblock. This is a reproduction of an image carved by Admire Kamudzengerere onto the wooden floor of a house in Harare, Zimbabwe. A radio station, films, t-shirt screenprinting, Dj’d mixed tapes and more are all part of this ambitious project.

“There are so many similarities between the two places,” says co-curator Chido Johnson, who is originally from Zimbabwe and teaches at the College for Creative Studies. “It’s interesting to think about the creative response to similar circumstances a continent away. Today’s digital technology allows us to bridge that gap and connect with artists dealing with similar issues.”

“We love the multi-dimensions of this show, with performance, visual art and more,” says Public Pool co-founder Jim Boyle. “And, we’re all about fostering conversation. Today’s digital technology can bridge a major geographical gap so those conversations stretch boundaries.”

Kumusha opens on September 14 with an opening party. Public Pool patrons are also encouraged to visit the Detroit Portal at the Zimbabwe Cultural Center of Detroit throughout the run of the show.

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 About Public Pool: Public Pool is an art cooperative designed to create and support a wide range of contemporary art experiences. Founding members include writer Steve Hughes and his wife, artist Anne Harrington-Hughes, author and Team Detroit creative director Toby Barlow, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD) board member Jessie Doan, advertising-industry creatives Mary Trybus and Jim Boyle, who is also a former Detroit Institute of Arts executive, artist/curator Tim Hailey, who’s also the former co-director of New York City non-profit gallery HEREart, writer and musician Walter Wasacz, and musician Jennifer Paull, and artist George Rahme. Public Pool is located at 3309 Caniff in Hamtramck. Open Saturdays 1-6 p.m. www.apublicpool.com.

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