Art is bigger than politics and government should make it a priority to increase funding to the arts industry, international music megastar, Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi, has said.
In a speech to mark at the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ)’s 25th anniversary held at 7 Arts in Harare last Friday, he said unlike politics, art was all-encompassing.
“Art is bigger than politics. Politicians represent people that share in their own ideology, and that’s only a portion whereas art is for everyone. Artists make art for everyone so government must take measures to increase funding to the arts,” said Tuku.
He said because art was neutral, it brought together people from all political persuasions, and that was why it had to be supported.
Playing alongside afro-jazz maestro Victor Kunonga, Mtukudzi gave a scintillating performance of five of his songs to which the maximum capacity audience responded wildly.
While NACZ celebrated its silver jubilee, the arts industry in Zimbabwe continues to face funding problems which is a major hindrance to the full development of the sector.
Oftentimes, artists have to make do on their own, facing social ridicule in a society that looks down on arts practitioners.
In spite of the challenges, NACZ has over the years played a major role in sustaining the cultural heart of the country, through supporting a wide range of artistic activity, arts festivals and cultural fairs.
According to NACZ, its goal is to make the arts sector contribute 10% of the national gross domestic product by 2013 through facilitating the growth of a diverse, dynamic arts and cultural industries.
The council’s marketing and communications manager, Tafadzwa Chidoori, said his organisation had managed to grow a breed of exportable Zimbabwean cultural objects and personalities.
“We have been critical about the participation of Zimbabwean artists at regional and international levels; Zimbabwean stone sculpture, mbira, marimba music has spilled over both regionally and internationally,” said Chidoori.
“NACZ looks at the next 25 years as years that will see the arts sector taking its place in the economic development of the country. NACZ also looks to lead through private partnership the construction of cultural centres that will help in the professionalisation of the arts industry in Zimbabwe,” he said.