BY SHARON SIBINDI
THE National Gallery of Zimbabwe (NGZ) in Bulawayo in partnership with Netherlands opened an itinerant Rembrandt van Rijn @350 Exhibition on Monday where residents got a chance to have a glance at the private view in the gallery.
Netherlands ambassador to Zimbabwe, Barbara van Hellemond said the exhibition that will run until December 20 is aimed at giving Zimbabwean artists a platform to explore Rembrandt in all diversity as Rembrandt’s work is still relevant and topical in modern society.
This year marks 350 years since the death of Rembrandt van Rijn, the most famous artist from the golden age who painted over 600 paintings and over 200 etchings. He is famous for his use of light and shadow to draw people into his work. His life and art is being celebrated all over the world this year. Zimbabwean artists selected a Rembrandt work of their choice and recreated or interpreted the work in their own style and medium.
“It is wonderful that we are celebrating Rembrandt in Zimbabwe. The exhibition aims to give Zimbabwean artists a platform to explore Rembrandt in all his diversity. I am very glad that you have joined the Dutch Embassy and the National Gallery to mark this anniversary,” she said.
“This is the only event of its kind in Africa, but one of more than 60 such exhibitions worldwide. With this exhibition the embassy hopes to not only recreate Rembrandt, but more specifically celebrate him Zimbabwe style.”
Hellemond said artists were tasked to take a work by Rembrandt and create it in their own style, incorporating local and modern themes and techniques to bring in communication across continents.
“For this event, Dutch and Zimbabwean artists are speaking to each other across continents and through time. While the world has changed, people feel the same emotions and have same personal struggles as in Rembrandts time,” she said.
“Love, grief, happiness and hope are universal, in that sense Rembrandt’s work is still very much relevant and topical.”
“Most of Zimbabweans in our era who studied art in the 1980s, studied European art and it is quite an interesting moment to come into a space where you are now putting exhibitions about Rembrandt,” NGZ assistant curator Clifford Zulu said.
“We hope to achieve mainly inspiration for local artists, we have got 35 artists who participated in this exhibition having made it to the final. We had received more than 130 entries and they were reduced to 35. So we just want to celebrate that ability by our local artists to understand one of the European masters.”