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Tate Britain acquires Kudzanai-Violet Hwami's, 'Expiation' 2021

Tate Britain has made an acquisition of 'Expiation' by Zimbabwean-born artist, Kudzanai-Violet Hwami, who draws on her experiences of geographical displacement.


Kudzanai-Violet Hwami, Expiation, 2021, oil, acrylic, oil stick and silkscreen on canvas, 127.5 x 119.5 cm, 50 1/4 x 47 1/8 in, © Kudzanai-Violet Hwami, courtesy the artist and Victoria Miro

The painting, titled Expiation, is part of Hwami's solo exhibition at Victoria Miro gallery, 'When You Need Letters for Your Skin', which was exhibited in 2021. This was announced on Tate’s Instagram page on May 8, 2023.


Expiation is a striking portrait of a nude figure with a red tongue emerging from their mouth. The figure is surrounded by collaged elements, such as flowers, butterflies, and geometric shapes, that create a vibrant and dynamic composition. The painting explores themes of spirituality, sexuality, and identity, as well as the artist's personal and cultural heritage.


Hwami, born in Gutu, Zimbabwe in 1993 and lived in South Africa from the ages of nine to seventeen is one of the most prominent young artists gracing the art scene today. In 2019, she represented Zimbabwe at the 58th Venice Biennale, becoming the youngest artist to participate in the prestigious event. Her work is also featured in major collections and exhibitions around the world, such as the Perez Art Museum in Miami, the Kadist Foundation in Paris, the Norval Foundation and Zeitz MOCAA in Cape Town, and the Musée d'Art Moderne de Paris. With the acquisition of Expiation, Tate Britain adds a significant work by a rising star of contemporary art to its collection.


Kudzanai-Violet Hwami photographed in her studio in Vauxhall, London, with completed works and works in progress, including one of the artist’s mother (Image credit: Catherine Hyland)


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Tate Britain acquires Kudzanai-Violet Hwami's, 'Expiation' 2021

May 20, 2023

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