UZ embraces new art form



UNIVERSITY of Zimbabwe (UZ) film, radio and television production students have embraced video installation as an important medium for development communication, with a particular effort to trigger discussions on mental health issues and proffer a platform to resolve them.

Video installation is a contemporary art form combining video technology with installation arts.

The UZ recently had its inaugural exhibition of video installation project titled The Besiegement and themed Mental Health at first floor gallery, Karigamombe Centre, in Harare.

Project convener Peter Mutanda, who is an HFRTP lecturer, told NewsDay Life & Style that the UZ should be credited for being the first to use the medium for development communication.

“I don’t want to claim that we are the first to introduce it in Zimbabwe but we should be credited for being the first to use it as a possible tool for development communication. We are also researching on its impact. From the few audience that came, it had a great impact because one of them even approached me confessing,” he said.

“We are trying to cover mental health issues because there is a lot of stigma, ridiculing and misinformation about the condition. Looking at the political and socio-economic crisis facing the nation, we need to start talking about the mental state of our people. It needs people to start thinking of getting professional help. This is why we desperately need partners.”

UZ theatre arts department chairperson Kelvin Chikonzo revealed plans to tour the country exhibiting The Besiegement starting at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair in Bulawayo next month.

Chikonzo said his department would also make films and theatre pieces to enhance dialogue in the area of mental health.

“It’s a paradigm shift from being a UZ department confined in Mt Pleasant, and just giving degrees. Now, we want to go more into the communities and assess what is happening there. We are going to make films and theatre for development projects,” he said.