Portia Zvavahera, Cleansing, 2019, oil-based printing ink and oil bar on canvas, 79 1⁄8 × 68 1⁄2".

Portia Zvavahera

Stevenson Johannesburg

Entry into any discursive space comes at a price, especially when that which enters does so through translation. Herein lies the rub for artists such as the Zimbabwean painter Portia Zvavahera, who takes her dreams and turns them into art. However, her paintings are hardly a direct translation of her dreams. As even she herself has said, “I change it somehow.” Be that as it may, translation remains a grounding feature of her work, and it takes precedence, not only in the construction of her subject matter, but also in its aesthetics. Although Zvavahera draws a lot from her spiritual and religious practice, her work does not grandstand like what she calls the “false prophets who come to you and say all these crazy things and want money.” Instead, it lingers in the everyday and in the domestic space, invoking issues of troubled and troubling intimacies.

Zvavahera’s recent exhibition “Talitha

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