Chikonzero Chazunguza was born in the late sixties in Harare. He attended the national art gallery’s B.A.T. workshops before proceeding to Bulgaria where he attended the higher institute of pictorial arts, graduating with master of fine arts degree in the mid nineties. He joined the Harare polytechnic and the University of Zimbabwe’s art department as lecturer in various art disciplines. He has initiated and worked with several community based projects, residency programs, local and international workshops. Chiko has had a number of one man shows, participated in several group shows. He has won himself several local and international awards including the national arts merit award in multi-media 2001, a national arts council of Zimbabwe award. He is currently the co-coordinator of Batapata international artist’s workshop-Zimbabwe. His working themes are inspired by social, religious and political ideals in his community.
Chiko’s work is a mixture of social and political commentary, the beautiful celebration of historical events, and folk traditions. The artist works better when he is not happy and his work is basically on exploration of himself from the perspective of identity and his relationship to African art and African aesthetics. He feels that it is time to challenge the aesthetic hegemony that has hither to existed in a society such as Zimbabwe.
The artist is very interested in color and he tries to use color in the state in which he finds it. He uses bright unadulterated color as he does not like to mix colors. He tries to see color in the way they are given meaning by a culture. For example, in Shona culture the word for color green is synonymous with the word for ‘slime.’ As a result, he chooses not to use a great deal of green but prefers to see colors in terms of sweet and see colors as opposed to warm and cool colors.
The artist’s images have developed over the years and he tries to create images that relate to Zimbabwean sculpture as he believes these images are authentic repositories of Zimbabwean culture. He uses the image of a ‘barbed-wired’ mouth to symbolize the way he felt in Europe when he was locked outside his environment due to his exclusion through language. He felt in a similar situation upon his return home as had changed so much. (Too African …….!)
The artist firstly creates a painting which he then translates into a graphic image. His messages are essentially political in nature. It relates to himself as an African artist, while seeking to inform and instruct fellow Africans and gain appreciation from non-Africans.