BY TENDAI SAUTA
NETHERLANDS arts curator Nico van Kan, who runs AfriKan Arts Company, is in the country to collect the best Zimbabwean visual stone and metal crafts among other charming artefacts.
Van Kan will visit a number of galleries that include Mashava, Avondale, Cannan Peterson in Mbare and others in Guruve.
He told NewsDay Life & Style at Chitungwiza Arts Centre that his maiden tour of Zimbabwe was in 1993, in the accompany of his wife Karen.
“My story in arts dates back to 1996 when I bought two sculptures in Mutare for home decoration in the Netherlands. Each day, we had a visitor at our house the next thing would be ‘bring me some carvings for my home too’,” he said.
“As AfriKan Company, we started by ordering 100 sculpture pieces in 1999 followed by 400 in 2000 and then containers from 2001 up to this time.”
Van Kan said art was the easiest way to get out of poverty, adding that big artists should link up-and-coming artists with established markets.
“There is a need to share resources and opportunities in order to grow stronger in the arts business. This is the message I will carry to all galleries and artists working as individuals in Zimbabwe,” he said.
Van Kan said as a corporate responsibility, they had donated tools that include chasing hammers, electronic chippers, raspers, grinders, cutters, a tractor, a two-tonne truck, and a vehicle to his sculptor friend Alfred Enoch Magwaza.
Magwaza, who accompanied the visiting curator to Chitungwiza Arts Centre, said artists should learn to narrate the values and messages communicated by their works of
“Art should be treated with a business approach in order to maximise profits. I appreciate all the mentorship I got from my cousin Peter Chizano, who taught me to wash, polish and sell stones up until I started chipping my early carvings on rapoko soft stone,” he said.
“I have learnt from the young and the elderly.
“I, therefore, urge artists not to look down upon each other in the arts industry.”
Magwaza said the National Art Gallery should be a platform for uniting artists and according them capacity to connect globally.
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