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Arts council urges artists to utilise opportunities



NATIONAL Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) Midlands provincial programmes manager, Honour Muvango, has encouraged young artists to explore every opportunity that comes their way.

Muvango made the remarks at the Forbes Mushipe Mentorship Programme Acquaintance event on Tuesday in Gweru.

The programme is the brainchild of multi-award-winning visual artist, Forbes Mushipe in his quest to support and develop the arts in Gweru.

“We are happy to see young people showing interest and turning out in their numbers for the Forbes Mushipe Mentorship Programme. The interesting thing is not only the mentorship programme’s potential to create financial wealth for the artists, but its element that facilitates trade by connecting artists to market,” Muvango said.

“Moreover the long-term objective of knowledge transfer and training artists is that if they work hard they will be able to attract art collectors and promoters to Midlands province.”

Mushipe said there was need to groom a new crop of well-cultured artists to occupy the fairly virgin art space.

“This programme wants to inspire a new cadre of an artistic minded community that puts collectors to the task of racing after their pieces. Collectors are after new perspectives, diverse and radical appreciation of new thinking and the rare captivating approach in storytelling,” he said.

“At a time when the world is struggling due to COVID-19, we want to help the artists to tap into the market with the use of technological tools and social media applications that are being developed everyday. In our observation art can also benefit from this change.”

Mushipe said young visual artists should consider investing their abilities in developing contemporary art in response to market demands.

“Finding an art market is a technique that every artist should learn in order to carry on with the trade. The young crop of Zimbabwean artists in order to get guidelines to where the art market is, learn from seasoned artists such as Tapfuma Gutsa, Coster Mukoki, Owen Maseko, David Chinyama, Dominic Benhura, Israel Israel among others whose works are making waves across the globe,” he said.

Mushipe said in the art business responding to the market is a technique that one has to acquire in order to survive.

“Realism is one great art form one can ever venture into, but what I am advocating for is the need to also embrace modern art which the collectors and proposers are looking at,” he said.

“When a contemporary artist strikes, it’s usually a big sell, but to make it one has to know where the collectors are, how the market is performing and what is trending.”

Mushipe said the programme that is supported by the European Union, Culture Fund and Creative Commons sought to mentor at least 60 young industrious and creative contemporary visual artists by end of year 2023.

Currently 15 artists have enrolled for the programme.

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