Chiedza Pasipanodya

In another part of the markets, men were selling medicines, etc.


Pipehead (1960s) by unknown maker(s), Luo People, East Africa, local clay

Chiedza Pasipanodya, “In another part of the markets, men were selling medicines, etc.” Ceramic, glaze, audio, archival text. Varied dimensions; 11” x 14", 2 mins 19 seconds

In another part of the markets, men were selling medicines, etc. was developed through an invitation from the Mending The Museum Project to engage with the Gardiner Museums collection and make works that engaged with the collection in new, experimental, and innovative ways through the prompt of completing, complementing or remixing “fragments” of objects available. These spaces of loss, lack, and obfuscation are ones I often explore in my multidisciplinary practice and typically through an African-centred lens.

I began by looking through the Gardiner Museums’ collection and landed on a Luo Pipehead from Kenya. Purchased by Canadian collectors, Dolf and Jeri Harmsen, in the 1960s and donated to the Gardiner in 2020, this object was of high interest because of its size, design and possible functionality in a social and spiritual context. It also came from a time when functional pottery was still regularly sold in rural markets in Kenya.

This multimodal work is a response to the pipehead’s present life in a museum collection. Following a prompt from Dolf Harmsen (above) and the understanding that the Luo, Kenya’s fourth largest ethnic group, are known for their musical skills and ingenious musical instruments, the absence of sound and life connected to this object was worth investigating. To address this, I have brought in breath, a (clay) body, and sound through a musical score sheet inscribed into a clay sheet accompanied by an audio performance of the score using a handbuilt pipehead replica. In employing this sound for In another part of the markets, men were selling medicines, etc., I am attempting to presence the lifelessness of most collections, invite the sound-filled-ness of the archives, and experiment with the tactile possibilities of recording through clay.

The score, Luo Pipehead from Mambelo Market, Kisumu, Kenya, uses an experimental notation generated by listening to the breath inhaling and exhaling through the replica. It is also influenced by Harmsen's experiences in Kenya at the time of the purchase of this and many other clay objects. These journal entries made possible plausible fabulations of the sounds and sights in the marketplace.

In another part of the markets, men were selling medicines, etc. is a nascent investigation, regarding the relationship between sound and clay. It is an exploration into the lives of objects beyond the collections they reside in and how the local context of an object might be prescenced in ways that make new connections and offer expanded narratives.

About  the  Artist:  Chiedza Pasipanodya

Chiedza Pasipanodya (chee-ed-za pasi-pano-jga) is an artist, curator, and writer who lives and works in Toronto, Canada & Harare, Zimbabwe. Their research-based practice is informed by traditional southern African pottery, ontologies and social practice. Chiedza is curious about remembering and belonging. In their multidisciplinary practice, they are committed to elevating narratives which might otherwise be forgotten and misremembered, especially the cultural productions of people of African descent. Chiedza has exhibited at Nia Centre for the Arts, Xpace Cultural Centre, and Whippersnapper Gallery. Chiedza was a Toronto Biennial of Art Curatorial Fellow (2022) and has curated exhibitions with The Art Gallery of Peterborough, Aspace Gallery, BAND Gallery, and Nuit Blanche.


Mending the Museum (2023)
Workshop Series:
   Narrative Charm
   Blackout Poetry
   Play it Forward
   Cloning and Paper Clay


About the Collective
Members of the Collective

Mending the Museum is a collaborative duo comprised of Karina Román Justo and Camila Salcedo. Together, their intent is to work as a bridge between artists, communities, regional museums, and craft objects from their collections, to reflect on ancestry and speculative futures within the framework of cultural belonging.

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