Sekai Machache: Svikiro

25th July 2023

Sekai Machache: Svikiro

This Autumn at Mount Stuart will see Zimbabwean-Scottish artist Sekai Machache showcase a series of short gestural films curated across the Mount Stuart house and gardens, that come together to form the immersive Svikiro.

Utilising academic, visual, and embodied research at Mount Stuart and in its collections and archives: Machache counters the ongoing erasure of a complex oracular culture that is profoundly connected to envisioning the future. This series of short films will support experimental and innovative storytelling, suggesting alternative readings of past and present, and proffering a model for a decolonised future archive built on collaboration.

These films will comprise performances in dance and song by invited artists such as Alberta Whittle, Mele Broomes, and Eyve Madyise who are all adorned in beautiful bespoke costumes created in collaboration with Fiona Catherine Powell.

Svikiro in Shona culture means one who mediates between the spiritual and human world, receiving visions in dream, performs healing rituals and serves as messenger to the ancestors.

With themes of hyper visibility and invisibility, erasure and existence, apparitions and traces; Machache has succeeded in curating an emotive display that offers us glimpses of the diasporic experience of familial severing and habitual longing. Machache does this, while utilising literary and symbolic references, in a stunning showcase of multidisciplinary skill and collective visioning. At Mount Stuart these themes resonate with the spiritual enquiry of the Third Marquess of Bute and his embedding of religious, astrological, and mythological iconography in the architecture, decoration and fabric of the house.

Collaborators on this project are Alberta Whittle (gestural performance), Mele Broomes (dance performance), Eyve Madyise (musical performance), Trisha Margolis (musical performance), Esther Swift (harp performance), Zethu Maseko (mbira performance), Fiona Powell (costumes), Gigi Gumbimura (Hair), Adebusola Ramsay (research assistance, voiceovers), Chris Ramsay (sound tech), Carine Barinia (production assistance), Gillian Katungi (musical consultancy), Rhea Lewis (production consultancy), Tilda Williams-Kelly (support work / assistance / storyboards)

Filmed, Photographed and Edited by Ambroise Leclerc of Paradax Period, Washington Gwande and Douglas Tyrell Bunge.

Directed, produced, researched, written and conceptualised by Sekai Machache.

Special thanks to Sophie Crichton Stuart, Morven Gregor, Talbot Rice Gallery and Patricia Fleming Gallery.

Sekai Machache is a Zimbabwean-Scottish visual artist and curator based in Glasgow. Machache works with a wide range of media including photography. She is the recipient of the 2020 RSA Morton Award and is an artist in residence with the Talbot Rice Residency Programme 2021-2023.

Recent shows include: Body of Land: Ritual Manifestations at Street Level Photoworks, Glasgow, Glasgow International Festival (2021); These Stories: The Divine Sky at Studio Pavilion, House for an Art Lover, Glasgow, Glasgow International Festival (2021); Projects 20: The Divine Sky at Stills Gallery and Edinburgh Arts Festival (2021).

Recent shows include: Scottish Women Artists - 250 Years of Challenging Perception at the Dovecot Studios, Edinburgh (2023). Mundane x sacred x profane at Sakhile&Me Gallery, Frankfurt, Germany (2023). Machache’s film Hypnagogia Glossolalia will be screened at Fringe of Colour in Edinburgh this August, and in April 2024, Sekai will be exhibiting at the 60th Venice Biennale as part of the Zimbabwe Pavilion.