Winner of Cass Art Materials Grant- Kudzanai Violet Hwami

For our Spring/Summer 2016 Collection MiAL teamed up with Cass Art to run the Cass Art Materials Grant for a second time in line with submissions to the new MiAL Collection.

The Cass Art Materials Grant came about as part of a partnership between Cass Art and Made in Arts London as a way to alleviate some of the challenges facing emerging artists today, and offered one University of the Arts London student the chance to receive £500 in materials support.

This is the second year that MiAL and Cass Art have teamed up for to offer emerging artists material support, last year MiAL Artist Fiona Masterton received the grant.

The grant not only provides artists with material support from Cass Art to ensure that they can continue their practice, but also professional development support from Made in Arts London to ensure that their creative careers continue to grow.

WebSo without further ado, we are thrilled to announce the the winner of the Spring/Summer 2016 Cass Art Materials Grant is Kudzanai Violet Hwami, BA Fine Art student at Wimbledon College of Arts.

Congratulations on winning the Cass Art Materials Grant Violet! Do you have any specific plans for the £500 you received to spend at Cass Art?  

Purchasing art materials is always the exciting part in any artist’s creative process. Having £500 to spend on art materials opens up new possibilities because I can play around with materials for new works and consider using different mediums. I am able to purchase studio equipment that I wouldn’t otherwise have been able to afford; for example purchasing a light-pad for a graphic novel project I plan to begin after graduating.

A graphic novel sounds fascinating, in what other ways will this bursary benefit your creative practice?

I am now guaranteed to have all the materials I need without the worry of working on a tight budget. I have the freedom to explore and create.

What originally made you decide to submit work to Made in Arts London?

During the first term of 3rd year I was encouraged by my tutors and mentor to enter competitions and residencies etc. so I could gain experience and exposure.  MiAL seemed like the perfect place for that and having being selected for the MiAL SS16 Collection, I’ve begun to feel more confident about  my work.

We’re thrilled to have you on board as a MiAL Artist, what do you hope to gain through being involved with MiAL?

As an emerging artist, exposure is very important. The more people know of the work, the more representation there is of African Queer-Afro-punk-Afro-pop culture. Made in Arts London has that platform for the work to gain the exposure it currently needs.

A tree is known by its fruit
What inspires you to make your artwork?

The source of inspiration that drives my work comes from many things, mainly other art forms, like music and film. I’m also influenced by the years during my childhood and adolescents, and I suppose reviving those years allow for me to nurture my inner-child.  Human Right #24 “The Right to Play” is listed on the Youth for Human Rights website and since seeing that Ad when in my early teens, I’ve been trying to hang on to that idea and not feel guilty about it. We all have the right to play and express ourselves. This message comes through in my paintings. Being creative allows playfulness which is often missing in our adult lives to exist.

Your works carry a very powerful message, why do you choose to address these subjects within your work?

I think being part of the LGBTQ community  and being Zimbabwean “African”, you cant help but not speak about the problems facing LGBTQ people in Africa. Having said that, my approach comes from a celebratory place; I try to not focus too much on the negative side of African politics or the tragedies of the past. Rejecting the negative makes space for me to envision an African utopia. If it cant exist in reality at least I’m able to escape through my work.

We can’t wait to see more of your work, what is the next project that you are working on?

I often work on different subjects at the same time, depending on the each painting. Sometimes a paintings is trying to communicate with another yet they are not meant to be in the same series. Right now I’m trying to balance three separate subjects hoping that by the end of the year i have a healthy amount of work to exhibit. I’m aiming for more exhibitions so the plan to keep painting. Although this time I’ll be working at a smaller scale. I’m also looking into instillation and sculpture because I feel the ideas I’m trying to communicate might require  more than paintings, so that’s something I’m excited about and l look forward to learning new skills.


Visit out website to view and buy Violet’s work!