Portia Zvavahera

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Portia Zvavahera
EducationHarare Polytechnic
  • Painter

Portia Zvavahera is a Zimbabwean award-winning painter who has done solo and group exhibitions in South Africa, Belgium, the United States of America, and the United Kingdom among many other countries.


She was born in 1985 in Juru.[1][2]


She studied at the BAT Visual Arts Studio under the auspices of the National Gallery of Zimbabwe between 2003 and 2005, after which she obtained a Diploma in Visual Arts from Harare Polytechnic in 2006.[2]


Between 2014 to 2020, Zvavahera had seven solo exhibitions at Stevenson Cape Town and Johannesburg.

In 2017 she had one exhibition at Marc Foxx Gallery, Los Angeles.[2]

Rising From the Unknown

In 2020 she had her first solo exhibition in Europe in the Upper Room at David Zwirner, London. She set a new record when her painting sold for nearly three times the high estimate at Phillips London. “Rising From the Unknown” (2019) reached £163,800 (US $212,383), a new artist record. The work was offered in Phillips 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale on October 20, 2020. Evening sales are generally reserved for premiere works by renowned figures and, with increasing frequency, sought after up-and-coming artists. [3]

The Institute of Contemporary Art Indian Ocean presented a small survey exhibition by the artist titled Walk of Life (2020).

In 2019 she had a two-person show with Gustav Klimt called Portia Zvavahera and Gustav Klimit: A Dialogue. The show took place at De 11 Lijnen, Oudenburg, Belgium.

She held a solo exhibition, Under My Skin, at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Harare, in 2010 and has taken part in numerous group exhibitions in the country.

She represented Zimbabwe at the 55th Venice Biennale in 2013 as part of the exhibition Dudziro: Interrogating the Visions of Religious Beliefs at the Zimbabwean Pavilion.

Group exhibitions include:

  • This Corrosion, Modern Art, London, UK (2020)
  • Psychic Wounds: On Art & Trauma, The Warehouse, Dallas, USA (2020)
  • Future Genealogies: Stories from the Equatorial Line, 6th Lubumbashi Biennale, Democratic Republic of Congo (2019)
  • Hacer Noche/Crossing Night, Oaxaca, Mexico (2018)
  • The Fabric of Felicity, Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow (2018)
  • Five Bhobh – Painting at the End of an Era, Zeitz MOCAA, Cape Town (2018)
  • We don't need another hero, the 10th Berlin Biennale (2018)
  • The Contested Body, Minneapolis Institute of Art, USA (2017)
  • Body Luggage, steirischer herbst festival, Graz, Austria (2016)
  • I Love You Sugar Kane, Institute of Contemporary Art Indian Ocean, Mauritius (2016)
  • African Odysseys, Le Brass Cultural Centre of Forest, Belgium (2015)
  • Liberated Subjects: Present Tense, De 11 Lijnen, Oudenburg, Belgium (2015)
  • Shifting Africa - What the Future Holds, Mediations Biennale, Kunsthalle Faus, Hannover (2014).

She has completed residencies at No.1 Shanti Road Studio Gallery, Bangalore (2018); Gasworks, London (2017) and was an artist-in-residence at Greatmore Studios, Cape Town, in 2009. [2]


In 2013 she was the recipient of the 10th Tollman Award for the Visual Arts, and in 2014 won the FNB Art Prize, awarded at the Joburg Art Fair. [2]



  1. PORTIA ZVAVAHERA, Zeitz MOCAA, Published: No Date Given, Retrieved: December 23, 2020
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 PORTIA ZVAVAHERA, Stevenson, Published: No Date Given, Retrieved: December 23, 2020
  3. Victoria L Valentine, Zimbabwean Artist Portia Zvavahera Sets New Record at Phillips Evening Auction, Titus Kaphar Painting Far Exceeds Estimate, Culture Type, Published: October 24, 2020, Retrieved: December 23, 2020