b. 1985, Harare, Zimbabwe.
Lives and works in Grahamstown, South Africa.
Wallen Mapondera received formal art training from Zimbabwe’s National Gallery School of Visual Arts and Design from 2005 to 2007. He was selected in 2007, for the National Gallery of Zimbabwe Artist-in-Residence Programme, hosted at the National Gallery School of Visual Arts and Design Studios in Mbare, Harare. The residency culminated in his first solo exhibition, titled MAZUVA OSE (Everyday), held at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe in Harare in 2008. Mapondera has since held multiple solo shows and participated in various local and international art fairs and group exhibitions. In 2015, he was the recipient of Zimbabwe’s prestigious National Arts Merit Award – in the Visual Arts Two-Dimensional Work category – given by the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe in recognition of outstanding achievements in arts and culture.
Most recently, Mapondera’s work is on exhibition as part of Five Bhobh: Painting at the End of an Era at Zeitz MOCAA in Cape Town, South Africa. The exhibition features 29 Zimbabwean artists who have relevant socio-political commentary and are pushing the boundaries of contemporary painting. Mapondera was also recently awarded the Pro Helvetia Studio Residency in Switzerland for 2018, where he plans on exploring the presence of African food culture in Switzerland.
In 2017 Mapondera featured as part of SMAC Gallery’s booth at the 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair in London. During 2016, he was named as a winner of the AIR (Artist-In-Residency) Award Laureate, awarded by the African Centre, and he subsequently took up residency at the Kuona Trust in Nairobi, Kenya. The residency was concluded with his solo presentation, entitled Paint My Tea Pot, at Tafaria Castle in Kenya. Additional selected solo exhibitions include: Tsananguro/Clarifications at SMAC Gallery in Cape Town, South Africa in 2017; Social Zoometry at Gallery Delta in Harare, Zimbabwe in 2014; Ani-Man (a human in an animal) at the Association for Visual Arts Gallery (AVA) in Cape Town, South Africa in 2013; and Turning Tables at the Red Mill Gallery in Vermont Studio Center, Vermont, USA in 2012.
Notable group exhibitions include: Familiar Histories: An Unstoppable Force in Contemporary Art Discourse, curated by Raphael Chikukwa, at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, in Harare, Zimbabwe in 2017; X: Part III and Nothing Personal both at SMAC Gallery in Stellenbosch, South Africa, in 2017 and 2016 respectively; Suddenly A Dissident (by Guns and Rain) at the Point of Order Gallery in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2016; Between the Sheets at Gallery East in Fremantle, Australia in 2012; Colour Africa, Zeitgenössische Kunst Aus Simbabwe at Kulturallmende gUG in Munich, Germany in 2011; as well as African Expressions at the University of Avignon in Avignon, France in 2010. Mapondera has also participated in multiple group exhibitions in Zimbabwe since 2006.
- Wallen Mapondera is included in the much anticipated Zeitz MOCAA Five Bhobh: Painting at the End of an Era. This exhibition features 29 Zimbabwean artists who have relevant socio-political commentary and are pushing the boundaries of contemporary painting.
- Pro-Helvetia has awarded a Studio Residency to Mapondera, set to take place at the end of 2018.