Christl Wolfram

Art in the Heart of ZAM. Where themes, space and voice come together

Just before the festive season, a 3-day exhibition opened in the ZAM editorial room. Visitors found themselves in a newly created home of prominent artists, a showcase of diverse pieces that traverse the African diaspora.

Visitors to the studio were invited to explore the dynamic interplay of works that echo the rich stories of African creativity. At first glance, the disparate nature of Sindiso Nyoni's digital strokes, Desiree Dolron's socio-political commentary, and Du Jie's meditative compositions may appear a enigma (or odd mix?). Yet, within the carefully curated confines of ZAM's workspace, a narrative unfolds—a story of harmonious coexistence, where seemingly unrelated pieces find solace and resonance within the magazine's investigative environment.

Sindiso Nyoni's work. Image by Raisa Mulder

Sindiso Nyoni’s prints are in comical style and introduce a contemporary edge to traditional art practices. Desiree Dolron's politically themed work serve as a powerful commentary on the socio-political landscape. Through her photography and light installation she engages with issues of power, identity, and mutilation. Du Jie's paintings created though a meditative process is a soothing counterpoint, offering a space for introspection and contemplation. The intricate details and deliberate strokes in Du Jie's work invite viewers to delve into the artist's inner world, providing a respite from the external chaos.

Image by Raisa Mulder

In the intersection of ink-stained journalism and the vibrant hues of artistic expression, ZAM Magazine's office space metamorphoses into a captivating canvas—welcoming the eclectic "Art in the Heart of ZAM" exhibition. The use of the cupboards and railings on the ceiling in the office space creates its own walking route through the exhibit. The office is a contradiction of the white cube norm of current museums. The works are placed in an environment that has a daily working function. The yellow lights, curtains and office furniture make the space feel like a home-base. This easily turned the nuances of the exhibition into inviting artistic take on ZAM. The works echo with the vibrant conversation between strokes, pixels, and concepts and create conversation that seamlessly integrates with the rhythm of editorial operations.

But there's more than meets the eye. Art, in this unique setting, serves a dual purpose. The exhibition functions as a fundraiser, where patrons become benefactors to ZAM's mission—fuelling research projects, collaborations, and events that amplify African voices. In the spirit of collaboration, names such as Clifford Charles, Nat Mokgosi, Ignacio Gumucio, Patricia Kaersenhout, Ruan Hoffman, Meshack Gaba, and Sindiso Nyoni, among many others, contribute to the rich tapestry of the exhibition. Their works and newer works donated by ZAM’s patron Fred Leferink, not only enrich the collection but also contribute to the magazine's goal for broader discussion.

Image by Christl Wolfram

In the language of pixels, prints, and purpose, "Art in the Heart of ZAM" speaks volumes—proving that within the pages of an art magazine, a new chapter of creative synergy is written.

Karine Dukuze, volunteer ZAM. Stephen Prior, volunteer ZAM. Christl Wolfram, curator & Intern ZAM.