Award-winning photographer Nancy Mteki has become the first African applicant to be selected for the prestigious four-month Autonomous Cultural Centre Valerie Weimar African Artistes in Residency Programme in Weimar, Germany, between February and May 2016.
Mteki was selected for her work from the Honai (Look) series — which draws inspiration from women and their daily life experiences – exhibited at her second solo exhibition held in September 2014 at Njelele Art Station in Harare.
Through the series, Mteki portrayed the plight of African women in a society where a woman’s success is linked to marriage and failure to being ditched by a man, telling the story in a Zimbabwean context, mainly on how people stereotype women in society.
The joyful Mteki told NewsDay yesterday that this was a great opportunity that would help her grow as an artiste.
She expressed gratitude to Dana Whabira and Tawanda Appiah for supporting her career.
“I am so proud that the year 2016 has started on a positive note as my works have been recognised beyond borders and I am happy to represent my nation and continent as a whole in Germany at such a programme,” Mteki said.
“Being selected for the programme motivates me to keep working hard to take my career to greater heights. I am determined to work hard and prove that I am a serious contender in the arts sector.”
Mteki said she used photography to portray what she had been through in life.
“Through the Honai series, I was trying to express the pain that I went through when I was pregnant. It was difficult to face society, which judged me harshly because of what had happened. The work is also a reflection of the neglect, depression and miscarriages that women experience.” she said.
She said her parents have been her inspiration and she expressed gratitude to Njelele for affording her the opportunity to showcase her work.
Inspired by her father Richard, Nancy started photography in 2008 and her first photo exhibition in the country was at the 2009 Gwanza Month of Photography where she was awarded an Honorary Mention Certificate.
In 2013, she toured Senegal where she participated at the Dakar Art Biennale African Visual Arts, walking away with the Deveron Arts Biennale Residency Prize. She has exhibited her work in Europe, Zimbabwe, South Africa and other parts of the continent.