THE National Gallery of Zimbabwe has appointed Raphael Chikukwa as substantive executive director for the organisation, having spent months in an acting capacity following the retirement of Doreen Sibanda.

Chikukwa’s appointment by the NGZ board of trustees is with effect from September 9.

“Chikukwa took 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 her the best in her post-retirement plans,” board chairperson Solomon Guramatunhu said.

“He has played a key role in the development of NGZ, joining as chief curator of contemporary art in 2010. During this time, he has been instrumental in overseeing the installation of over 10 exhibitions as well as developing the Gallery’s international reach and re-imaging its collection.”

Chikukwa said he was grateful to be chosen to lead one of the great arts institutions in Africa.

“I am very grateful for being given this chance 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,” he said.

Chikukwa took over from Sibanda as acting director during a period that was marred by the COVID-19 pandemic and transformed the gallery into a digitally connected hub of activity in the new order.

He served as NGZ’s chief curator and deputy director since 2010.

He was the founding curator of the Zimbabwe Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale in 2011 and organised the country’s representation in 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2019.
He was also a founding staff member of the PUMA-funded Creative Africa Network from 2008 to 2009.

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