Nontsikelelo Mutiti and Tinashe Mushakavanhu

Richmond, Virginia and Harare, Zimbabwe
18 months

Nontsikelelo Mutiti and Tinashe Mushakavanhu (Black Chalk & Co) will explore African hair braiding practices as subject and as a metaphor for the braiding together of multiple streams of content through field work, archiving, design, and publishing. Through Kudununura/Undoing, they will engage African hair braiding salons and black beauty supply stores as spaces for storytelling, skill sharing, and community building. Connecting with communities across geographies, the collaborative will develop an interactive practice with three interlinked components—experimental design, publishing, and pedagogy.

Mushakavanhu is a Zimbabwean writer interested in how the poetics of anarchy inform creative writing, digital media, and African literature.  He has been a national columnist and editor in the Zimbabwean media, and has held fellowships at CNN, Quartz, and VICE Media. In 2018, he was the Andrew W. Mellon Writer in Residence at Rhodes University, South Africa.

Mutiti is a Zimbabwean born artist, designer, and educator invested in elevating the work and practices of Black peoples’ past, present, and future. She has participated in group exhibitions at The Studio Museum in Harlem, Whitney Museum, and We Buy Gold in New York. Mutiti has been supported by the Joan Mitchell Foundation Emerging Artist Grant and residencies at Centre for Book Arts and Recess. She is the assistant professor in Graphic Design at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Mushakavanhu and Mutiti are the co-founders of Black Chalk & Co., a creative agency which advances conceptual approaches to design, experimental publishing and archiving practices, and peer collaborations.