Harare Polytechnic, Herbert Chitepo Ave, Harare, Zimbabwe
In 2006, Chihota got a Diploma in Fine Art from Harare Polytechnic.
The artist Virginia Chihota, photographed at her studio in Harare, Zimbabwe. Courtesy of Tiwani Contemporary.
Unnamed Road, Chitungwiza, Zimbabwe
In her early years, Virginia studied at Seke 3 High School.
In her early years, Virginia studied at Seke 3 High School. In 2004, she received a Certificate in Fine Art from the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Harare. Later, in 2006, she got a Diploma in Fine Art from Harare Polytechnic. Also, Virginia studied art at British American Tobacco (BAT) workshop.
During her career, Virginia took part in many group exhibitions, including "Final Year Students' Exhibition", National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Harare (2004), "Woman of Passion", National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Harare (2005), "Peace through Unity in Diversity", Gallery Delta, Harare (2007), "Another Perspective", Galerie 23, Amsterdam (2009), "Modern Art of Zimbabwe", Korea Foundation Cultural Center, Seoul (2010), "A Terrible Beauty is Born", 11th Lyon Biennale, France (2011), "Air de Lyon", Fundación Proa, Buenos Aires (2012), "Prix Canson Exhibition 2013", Petit Palais, Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris, France (2013), "Pangaea II", Saatchi Gallery, London, United Kingdom (2015), "Kin", Hangar - Centro de Investigação Artística, Lisbon, Portugal (2016), "Close: Drawn Portraits", The Drawing Room, London, United Kingdom (2018) and others.
Her selected solo exhibitions include "Confluence", Greatmore Studios, Cape Town, South Africa (2008), "Relationships", Gallery Delta, Harare, Zimbabwe (2009), "Isolation", Gallery Delta, Harare, Zimbabwe (2012), "A Thorn in my Flesh (munzwa munyama yangu)", Tiwani Contemporary, London, United Kingdom (2015), "Come Forth as Gold", Tiwani Contemporary, London, United Kingdom (2016), among others.
In 2007, Virginia was an artist-in-residence at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Harare. The following year, in 2008, she resided in Greatmore Studios, Cape Town.
In 2012, Chihota migrated to Libya after the fall of the Gaddhafi regime. She later moved to Tunisia and now lives in Montenegro.
In 2013, she represented Zimbabwe at the 55th Venice Biennale.
Bhai bhai dhirezi handikanganwe – Bye bye dress I cannot forget
Kumira Mutariro (Waiting in Faith)
Ndichiri kutsvaga kukuziva (still seeking to know you)
Kuna muvambi wehupenyu
Before you take the key allow me to... (usati watora kiyi nditendere ndi...)
The root of the flower we do not know (mudzi weruva ratisingazive)
Unoramba uchidzoka usingandidaire "you keep returning yet you don’t respond to me"
Kumira Mutariro (Waiting in Faith)
Raising Your Own (Kurera Wako)
Virginia Chihota’s work explores black female subjectivity and the notion of "belonging" as a form of cosmopolitanism. Across printmaking, drawing and painting, she suggests novel ways to think about dislocated subjects, domesticity and shifting identities. Her itinerant experiences shape her work and her sense of self. Virginia describes her practice as a "reflection on self-discovery in constantly changing circumstances".
Introspective in nature, Chihota's work is deeply influenced by personal experiences - landmark and everyday. In a reflection on intimacy and the human figure, she has addressed themes, such as childbearing, childrearing, marriage, kinship, bereavement and faith.
At once mundane and transcendental, rife with allusions to everyday life, and religious and folkloric symbolism, her large works on paper display a raw, expressionist verve and a striking grace in the elaborate use of patterns, textures and layers. Having trained as a printmaker, Chihota’s use of screen-printing is as confident as it is original. She mixes printing techniques with drawing to produce unique works of striking formal complexity. Chihota's work highlights the ways, in which the female agency disrupts borders and activates concerns around different forms of belonging. Subjectivity emerges as a concept, embedded in notions of interrelatedness.
Chihota sees her life as both a form of research and exploration, which at any point can yield new discoveries, which are so deeply felt so as to become relevant to anyone, who engages with her work.