Zvavahera was born in 1985 in Harare where she currently lives and works. She studied at the BAT Visual Arts Studio under the auspices of the National Gallery of Zimbabwe between 2003 and 2005, after which she obtained a Diploma in Visual Arts from Harare Polytechnic in 2006.
She has had six solo exhibitions at Stevenson Cape Town and Johannesburg (2014-19), one at Marc Foxx Gallery, Los Angeles (2017) and one at David Zwirner, London (2020). The Institute of Contemporary Art Indian Ocean presents a solo exhibition by the artist titled Walk of Life (2020); she held a solo exhibition, Under My Skin, at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Harare, in 2010 and has taken part in numerous group exhibitions in that country. She represented Zimbabwe at the 55th Venice Biennale in 2013 as part of the exhibition Dudziro: Interrogating the Visions of Religious Beliefs at the Zimbabwean Pavilion.
Group exhibitions include This Corrosion, Modern Art Helmet Row, London, UK (2020); Psychic Wounds: On Art & Trauma, The Warehouse, Dallas, USA (2020); Portia Zvavahera and Gustav Klimt: A Dialogue, De 11 Lijnen, Oudenburg, Belgium (2019); Future Genealogies: Stories from the Equatorial Line, 6th Lubumbashi Biennale, Democratic Republic of Congo (2019); Hacer Noche (Crossing Night) in Oaxaca, Mexico (2018); The Fabric of Felicity at the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow (2018); Five Bhobh – Painting at the End of an Era at Zeitz MOCAA, Cape Town (2018); We don't need another hero, the 10th Berlin Biennale (2018); The Contested Body at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, USA (2017); Body Luggage, part of the steirischer herbst festival in Graz, Austria (2016); I Love You Sugar Kane at the Institute of Contemporary Art Indian Ocean, Mauritius (2016); African Odysseys at Le Brass Cultural Centre of Forest, Belgium (2015); Liberated Subjects: Present Tense at Foundation De 11 Lijnen in Oudenburg, Belgium (2015); and Shifting Africa - What the Future Holds at the Mediations Biennale,in Poland and Kunsthalle Faust in Hannover (2014).
She has completed residencies at No.1 Shanti Road Studio Gallery, Bangalore (2018); Gasworks, London (2017) and was an artist-in-residence at Greatmore Studios, Cape Town, in 2009. In 2013 she was the recipient of the 10th Tollman Award for the Visual Arts, and in 2014 won the FNB Art Prize, awarded at the Joburg Art Fair.