Zimbabwean painter Portia Zvavahera’s work consists of grand, layered paintings of dreamlike, expressionistic images, taking as much from religion as she does from the supernatural and dream worlds.

Artists Nontsikelelo Mutiti and Robert Machiri are Zvavahera’s contemporaries; Johannesburg based-Machiri studied at the same institution as Zvavahera, namely the Harare Polytechnic. Mutiti, who lives in New York and is a member of the “Harare School” of multidisciplinary contemporary artists, encountered Zvavahera in Zimbabwe’s art scene, having both taken classes at Gallery Delta.

In this conversation, Mutiti and Machiri speak about Zvavahera’s exhibition What I See Beyond Feeling, at Stevenson Gallery, what her work evokes and its location in contemporary art in Zimbabwe.

What does Zvavahera’s work
evoke in terms of your days first encountering each other as artists?

Nontsikelelo Mutiti: Between 2001 and 2007, that’s when I had my introduction to that community of artists.