Raphael Chikukwa has been appointed as the substantive Executive director of the National Art gallery of Zimbabwe replacing long serving Director Mrs Doreen Sibanda who retired earlier this year. Chikukwa previously served the National Gallery of Zimbabwe as its Chief Curator and Deputy Director for ten years.
Speaking about the role, Mr Chikukwa said: I am very grateful for being given this opportunity to head one of the great art institutions in Africa and to contribute to its visibility. This appointment is an opportunity to continue the work started by those that came before me. I am looking forward to this new path and working with artists across the continent and with other cultural institutions in Africa and around the globe”.
The Board of Trustees of the National Gallery of Zimbabwe Chairperson Dr Solomon Guramatunhu said: “It is good, could be more effective by acknowledging that Raphael is taking over from Doreen Sibanda, who retired after working tirelessly and diligently to successfully position the gallery under a very harsh economic environment. The Board of Trustees expresses its heartfelt gratitude to Doreen Sibanda, wishing the best in her post retirement plans.” Mr. Chikukwa takes the helm in transition from Acting Executive Directorial capacities, a period that has been mired by the COVID-19 pandemic, transforming the Gallery into a digitally connected hub of activity in the new order.
During this time, he has been instrumental in overseeing the installation of over ten exhibitions as well as developing the Gallery’s international reach and re-imagining its collection. In particular, he has been the founding curator of the Zimbabwe Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale in 2011 and has organized the country’s representation in 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2019. Chikukwa was also a founding staff member of the PUMA-funded Creative Africa Network from 2008 to 2009. He holds an MA in Curating Contemporary Design from Kingston University in London and was the recipient of the 2006-07 Chevening Scholarship and the American Centre Foundation Curatorial Research Grant in 2008. In 1997 he graduated with a Post Grad Certificate in Arts and Culture Management from the University of Witwatersrand South Africa. Publications he has contributed to include Visions of Zimbabwe (2004); Mawonero/Umbono: Insights on Art in Zimbabwe (2016); and Kabbo Ka Muwala: Migration and Mobility in Contemporary Art (2017).
In his role as Substantive Executive Director, Mr Chikukwa will provide strategic leadership for the gallery, including academic direction and articulating a compelling vision for the Museum’s development. He will lead on the development and realisation of the Museum’s exhibitions program and will also foster the National Gallery of Zimbabwe’s relationship with the international institutional world.