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Meet the Judges – Raimi Gbadamosi, 2018

The inaugural PPC Imaginarium Awards Zimbabwe welcomes its international judge, award-winning artist and curator Raimi Gbadamosi, who discusses his hopes for the competition.


  • You were a regional judge of works entered into the 2018 PPC Imaginarium Awards South Africa. What was the highlight of that experience?

Seeing the wide range of what can be done with cement as part of the creative process stands as the highlight. It is easy to treat cement as immaterial beyond the construction of buildings. Encountering it as a ‘soft’ material helps to redefine what all materials are capable of being.


  • Will your experience as a regional judge of the PPC Imaginarium Awards South Africa affect your approach to the judging of the Zimbabwean entries? If so, how?

It will be hard to ignore the experience of being a judge regionally, as that experience has already introduced me to what is possible. However, the intention is to approach all the works that will be encountered in Zimbabwe equally, leaving whatever regional bias one may have behind.

 PPC Imaginarium

  • Who are some of Zimbabwe’s top creatives, in your opinion?

This is a question that is best answered by critical minds within Zimbabwe.


  • What is the nature of the relationship between Zimbabwean arts/design and politics, in your experience?

All governments and political structures maintain responses to art and design as they are hard to control. All artists and designers are forced to have an engagement with politics as it has a profound effect on what they are capable of doing, and in most instances what they can afford to do.

It is hard to live regionally without being aware of the complicated political landscape Zimbabwe continues to face. It is therefore incumbent on artists and designers to find ways to act as visual and critical philosophers of their environments.

Most artists and designers have to remain optimists in their relationship to politics, and trust their desire and plans for a ‘better’ society. It is this optimism that affords artists and designers the wherewithal to question the status quo. This may bring threat or reward, depending on how the sitting government views what artists or designers have to offer. Fortunately, posterity is often a fair judge, but only when posterity is fair in itself.


  • What specifically makes Zimbabwe a good country in which to hold the PPC Imaginarium Awards?

Zimbabwe is going through a period of transition. Moments such as these offer a high level of opportunity for change, and the ability to appreciate the possibility of change. The arts too have to embrace change in order to remain relevant, and accept change to maintain the ability to be self-reflexive. This meeting of opportunity and circumstance makes Zimbabwe an ideal site to question and challenge dominant artistic ideas.


  • In what ways do you hope the PPC Imaginarium Awards will affect the arts and design industries of Zimbabwe?

I sincerely hope that there will be real investment in the lives of artists and designers within Zimbabwe related to the awards. Ultimately it is the investment in people that brings about challenging and exciting works of art and design. I hope that the PPC Imaginarium Awards will provide artists and designers with the time, space, materials, and tools they require to further their own practices – even if this provision flies in the face of whatever intentions the awards set for themselves.

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