Wallen Mapondera was born in 1985 in Harare, Zimbabwe. He received formal art training from the National Gallery School of Visual Arts and Design from 2005 to June 2007. In July 2007, he was selected for the National Gallery of Zimbabwe Artist- in-Residence Programme, hosted at the National Gallery School of Visual Arts and Design Studios in Mbare, Harare. The Residency culminated in his first solo exhibition, titled MAZUVA OZE (Everyday), held at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe in Harare in 2008. Mapondera has since held multiple solo shows and participated in various local and international art fairs and group exhibitions. In 2015, he was the recipient of Zimbabwe’s prestigious National Arts Merit Award – in the Visual Arts two-dimensional work category – given by the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe in recognition of outstanding achievement in arts and culture.
In 2016, Mapondera was a winner of the AIR (Artist-in-Residency) Award Laureate, awarded by the African Centre, and subsequently took up residency at the Kuona Trust in Nairobi, Kenya. The residency was concluded with his solo presentation, titled Paint My Tea Pot, at the Tafaria Castle in Kenya. Earlier solo exhibitions include: Social Zoometry at Gallery Delta in Harare, Zimbabwe (2014); Ani-Man (a human in an animal) at the Association for Visual Arts Gallery (AVA) in Cape Town, South Africa in 2013; and Turning Tables at the Red Mill Gallery in Vermont Studio Center, Vermont, USA in 2012.
Notable group exhibitions include: Nothing Personal at SMAC Gallery in Stellenbosch and Suddenly A Dissident (by Guns and Rain) at the Point of Order Gallery in Johannesburg, both in South Africa in 2016; Between the Sheets at Gallery East, North Fremantle in Western Australia in 2012; Colour Africa, Zeitgenössische Kunst Aus Simbabwe, Kulturallmende in Munich, Germany in 2011; as well as African Expressions at the University of Avignon in Avignon, France in 2010. Mapondera also participated in multiple group exhibitions in Zimbabwe. Mapondera was included in SMAC Gallery's presentation at 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair in London, UK in 2017. He has recently been awarded the Pro Helvetia Studio Residency in Switzerland for 2018, and he is currently preparing for his second solo exhibition, entitled Samusha weiri Dongo, with SMAC in Johannesburg, to open in early 2018.