Selasi Awusi Sosu (Ghana) and Georgina Maxim (Zimbabwe)
It is indeed a reason for joy and being proud for KAAD when an artist sponsored by our organisation exhibits at the Art Biennale in Venice. After all, the Biennale is considered to be the most important art exhibition alongside the Documenta in Kassel, Germany. However, it is indeed extraordinary that two artists sponsored by KAAD exhibit in the pavilions of their countries at the 58th Biennale this year. Both artists are African women who were or rather are sponsored by KAAD for their master’s programme.
KAAD-Alumna Selasi Awusi Sosu represents her home country Ghana with a glass art installation while the current scholarship holder Georgina Maxim performs her textile art for Zimbabwe. Ghana is even celebrating its premiere at the Biennale whereas Zimbabwe is already represented with a pavilion for the fifth time.
The motto of this year’s international art exhibition “May you live in interesting times“ is not only reflected by their art, but also by their biographies:
Born in 1976 in Ghana, Selasi Awusi Sosu completed her Bachelor and Master in Fine Arts at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Ghana from 1997-2005. For her Master’s degree, she received a Sur-Place scholarship from KAAD. After completing her degree, she started working as an art teacher in Kumasi before moving to the University of Education in Winneba where she has been teaching ever since. Since 2008, she has also been doing her Ph.D. part-time at KNUST, while continuing to make a name for herself as an independent artist, above all with glass art. At the Biennale, she exhibited her works about an abandoned glass factory in Ghana which celebrate the aesthetics of glass in form of photography, videography and sound installations while denouncing at the same time the decay and mismanagement of the Ghanaian economy.
KAAD scholarship holder Georgina Maxim from Zimbabwe just finished her Master in African Verbal and Visual Arts at the University of Bayreuth. Born in 1980 in Harare, she completed several diplomas in Applied Art, Design, Creative Art and Education at the Chinhoyi University of Technology in Zimbabwe before working as a gallery manager at the important art institution Gallery Delta in Harare for several years. She is married to KAAD Alumnus Misheck Masamvu with whom she not only has two children, but also founded the centre Village Unhu in 2012 which functions as collective promoting emerging artists. In addition to promoting young artists from all over the world through residency programmes, the centre also conducts art exhibitions and events which have been a vibrant and lasting influence on Zimbabwe’s art scene in recent years. As an independent artist, Maxim mainly concentrates on modern textile art which she exhibits under the title of ‘Soko Risina Musoro’ (A Tale without a Head) at the Zimbabwean pavilion at the Biennale. This exhibition is also a clear sign in view of the current social and political turbulence in Zimbabwe.
May you live in interesting times – KAAD congratulates its two great artists!