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Political situation affects arts gallery


THE political situation in the country has reportedly affected business at the National Arts Gallery of Zimbabwe (NAGZ) in Bulawayo,with the number of visitors to the city dropping massively following the July 2018 harmonised elections.


In an interview with NewsDay Life & Style, Bulawayo’s NAGZ assistant curator Clifford Zulu said the institution faced a number of challenges last year, with the July 2018 elections topping the list.

“The gallery in 2018 experienced a challenging environment. Like any other institution, we had operational challenges. Things are changing and the issues of elections dropped the number of visitors that came into the gallery,” Zulu said.

“Exhibition previews dropped by 30% while our foreign visitors plunged by 50%, but we had a good number of local visitors up by 50% from student tours mostly and arts events.”

Zulu said besides elections, the changing economy also wreaked havoc to the institution.

“The economy is changing, so we need to keep up as an institution with these changing operating environments,” he said.

Zulu said visual artists were finding their footing around this operating system by creating works that are kind-of-relevant not to local tourism because of late, people were looking forward to international tourism.

“We are seeing our artists crossing the borders to try and put up shows across the southern African region, and that is a good thing,” he said.

Zulu said the gallery was able to launch the Preservation of Ndebele Art and Architecture project at the Amagugu Heritage Centre in Matobo, following a documentation exercise that began in 2016, funded under the State Department Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation.

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