About the Grant

$40,000 to support “lions will roar…” (MAP 2008), a new dance work that explores the anatomy of a revolution and the spirit of Zimbabwean resistance and survival in a cross-genre collaboration between contemporary African dance artist Nora Chipaumire and “The Lion of Zimbabwe,” musician Thomas Mapfumo. Mapfumo became a national hero by singing theme songs for a revolution with a deeper message about culture. This project is a mapping of Mapfumo’s music and an investigation of African contemporary dance that corresponds to the history of Zimbabwe and the timeline of art and revolution, as well as the artists' personal stories.

About the Project

The project reexamines the art-making landscape in Zimbabwe after 27 years of independence amidst the downward spiral of the Zimbabwean economic infrastructure, resulting in many master artists to seek out a living in other countries. “lions will roar…” questions the limitations and/or benefits of living and creating outside of one's native culture, the possibility of distance as a liberating creative force for artists, if art continues to be relevant to its culture of origin from a distance, and dealing with isolation/separation from the homeland. The collaboration is a soul-searching investigation on the nature of culture in exile and tradition versus contemporary idioms in Shona dance and music. In their process, Chipaumire and Mapfumo combine art making and post colonial discourse in the hopes of defining a way in which artists with similar histories can examine themselves and make artwork that is humanist without losing cultural specificity.


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