Zimbabwean graphic designer, activist to deliver Nelson Mandela Lecture Oct. 22

October 08, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Designer, filmmaker, educator and activist Chaz Maviyane-Davies will visit Penn State's University Park campus for a discussion about his life and career at 6 p.m. Tuesday Oct. 22, in Paterno Library’s Foster Auditorium. His visit is sponsored by the Africana Research Center in the College of the Liberal Arts as part of the Nelson Mandela Lecture Series.

Chaz Maviyane-Davies

Chaz Maviyane-Davies

IMAGE: Provided

Maviyane-Davies has been described by the U.K.’s Design magazine as “the guerrilla of graphic design.” Debbie Millman, of Design Matters, called him “one of the most powerful voices in the world of graphic design.” For more than four decades this controversial, award-winning artist has marshaled the power of design to enable effective communication for social change, taking on issues of consumerism, health, nutrition, social responsibility, the environment and human rights.

"In my work I challenge the norm and try to capture truth, nature and the vibrancy of our humanity through eloquence, power and economy. I translate its essence through aesthetic expression in order to wholly connect to the spiritual and intellectual body, which is life itself," Maviyane-Davies said. "Creating an alternate vision in a pervadingly regressive body politic has never been easy but design is my weapon and therein lies the challenge I have called 'creative defiance.'

"This lecture is a glimpse of my story and approach to the breadth of real problems and values we all have to deal with."

Maviyane-Davies achieved a master of arts in graphic design and an advanced diploma in postgraduate filmmaking from the Central St. Martins School of Art and Design in London. He spent a year in Japan studying three-dimensional design and 10 months in Malaysia working on various world-reaching design projects for the International Organization of Consumers Unions and JUST World Trust. 

From 1983 to 2000 he ran The Maviyane-Project, a highly acclaimed design studio in Harare, Zimbabwe. The social and humane nature of his work was often confrontational and challenging to the authorities, so it was not surprising that, in 2001, with the adverse political climate at the time, he felt compelled to leave his homeland for a post at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston. He taught there until 2016 and is now professor emeritus of design.

Maviyane-Davies was recognized with the 2018 American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) Boston Fellow award, the highest distinction an AIGA chapter can bestow upon one of its members. In 2009 the University of Massachusetts Lowell conferred on him an honorary doctor of humane letters degree. He is the recipient of the inaugural Anthon Beeke International design award in Amsterdam, and he was recognized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston for his commitment to the struggle to transform society and create a just future. He also has won several international and national awards for design and advertising.

His work has appeared in scores of international magazines and newspapers, and he has been acknowledged in many publications, including Who’s Who in Graphic Design, Rewriting the Rules of Graphic Design, History of Graphic Design, and Anatomy of Design, among others. Maviyane-Davies' work is included in permanent collections in various galleries around the world and has been seen at more than 200 individual and group exhibitions. 

Maviyane-Davies’ lecture is free and open to the public. For more information about the Africana Research Center, visit arc.la.psu.edu

Last Updated October 14, 2019