Genesis [Je n'isi isi] I

Kudzanai Chiurai, Zimbabwean, born 1981


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Pigment inks on premium satin photo paper


Image: 51 3/16 × 55 1/8 in. (130 × 140 cm)

Sheet: 56 1/16 × 56 1/16 in. (142.4 × 142.4 cm)

Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth: Purchased through James and Barbara Block Acquisitions Endowment



Place Made: Zimbabwe, Southern Africa, Africa


21st century

Object Name


Research Area



Not on view


Known for his photographs and films in which he merges fiction and historical facts, the Zimbabwean artist Kudzanai Chiurai offers insightful consideration of contemporary politics and social life. In Genesis (Je n’isi isi) I, a commentary on European colonialism in Southern Africa, Chiurai revisits the story of David Livingstone, a Scottish medical doctor and Christian Congregationalist. He is remembered as a pioneering medical missionary who proselytized and sought profitable commerce during his travels in Africa, and is associated with the famous quote "Dr. Livingstone, I presume." Chiurai stages a fictive meeting between Livingstone, who spent considerable time in Southern Africa, and an unidentified local chief from one of the cultural groups in the sub-region. In the background, a Western temple-front pediment rests atop two columns and is set against a marbled backdrop, reminiscent of a photographer’s studio. The black-and-white checks of the parquet floor echo the divisions between black and white that run throughout the rest of the image, from the figures and their clothing to their setting. The staged nature of the photograph is immediately evident.

From the 2019 exhibition Global Contemporary: A Focus on Africa, curated by Ugochukwu-Smooth C. Nzewi, Curator of African Art

Course History

WRIT 5, Criticism: How to Do It and Why, Paul Carranza, Winter 2019

AAAS 67.5, GEOG 21.01, Black Consciousness and Black Feminisms, Abigail Neely, Winter 2019

HIST 2, #EverythingHasAHistory, Matthew Delmont and Max Fraser, Fall 2019

HIST 66/AAAS 15, History of Africa Since 1800, Naaborko Sackeyfio-Lenoch, Winter 2021

ARTH 5.01, Introduction to Contemporary Art, Mary Coffey and Chad Elias, Winter 2022

HIST 5.08/AAAS 19, Africa and the World, Naaborko Sackeyfio-Lenoch, Summer 2022

HIST 5.08/AAAS 19, Africa and the World, Naaborko Sackeyfio-Lenoch, Summer 2022

HIST 5.08/AAAS 19, Africa and the World, Naaborko Sackeyfio-Lenoch, Summer 2022

ANTH 55.01, Anthropology of Global Health, Anne Sosin, Fall 2022

Exhibition History

Global Contemporary: A Focus on Africa; Dorothy and Churchill Lathrop Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, January 26-September 10, 2019.

Publication History

John R. Stomberg, The Hood Now: Art and Inquiry at Dartmouth, Hanover, New Hampshire: Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, 2019, p. 218, ill. plate no. 149.


Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa; sold to present collection, 2017.

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