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“Art-World Passport Office” at the 1-54 trade fair in New York wants to highlight migration problems

Citizens of the art world can purchase an “Art World Passport,” a physical booklet that “metaphorically” allows them to navigate the international fairs, exhibitions and Exhibitions move to biennials in a commentary on migration and diversity in art.

Cultural platform artHARARE, based in Zimbabwe's capital, introduced the pass at its stand, which features an exhibition of photographs by six Zimbabwean artists: Wonai Haruperi, Kudakwashe Chakwanda, Nothando Chiwanga, Lennox Makurumidze, Martina Gruber and Tinotenda Chimuka. “We thought it would be an interesting way to showcase the work by presenting the photos in our passports as a portrait on the back,” says Richard Mudariki, the owner and founder of artHARARE. “But the narrative goes beyond just photography and Zimbabwe to themes surrounding the movement of products, artworks and artists themselves.”

Art can be transported from Zimbabwe to New York or London for fairs more easily than the artists who created the work, Mudariki says. In fact, he says, an artist whose work is on display at the stand was supposed to have participated in 1-54 but was unable to do so due to visa issues.

“If you have a specific passport from another country, that can give you more privileges. We heard these stories in conversation this week,” he says. “It comes back to the idea of ​​identity and portraiture, of migration and challenges in the world as it works now, as there is a lot of political rhetoric about migration that is already happening, particularly here in the States.”

According to Mudariki, about 20 people had purchased a passport as of Thursday afternoon, including 1-54 founder and director Touria El Glaoui. The plan is for holders to be able to use their new passes to participate in experiences with artHARARE in Zimbabwe and Cape Town, South Africa, such as studio visits and artist talks, and hopefully one day with partners elsewhere. The blank pages can also be used for note-taking or collecting stamps or stickers. Mudariki says a new holder told him she would use her pass to collect autographs from her favorite artists.

Anna Harden

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