Sculptor laments artistes’ exclusion

Jay Mariga

STONE sculptor Jay Mariga has lamented the sidelining  of artists in government-run national building projects.

Mariga, who does Shona art, specialising in abstract sculptures, told NewsDay Life & Style that including artists in national building projects will not only empower them, but also give them a platform to showcase their abilities.

“I think our government through the Sport, Arts and Recreation ministry should try and accommodate us in some projects, like we have the new Parliament building, it can give raw materials to artists and give us a theme to go with in a competition. The same on Mbudzi roundabout construction, a call can be made to artists and give us raw materials for sculptures to be put there,” Mariga said.

The Harare-based artist also suggested that the government should help finance some artists’ programmes. He said, for example, there were some artists who represent Zimbabwe overseas, but they do that relying on sponsorship from private art collectors, yet government could facilitate these programmes through embassies on a cultural exchange basis.

“We have fellow programmes like Euroday were embassies of Europe celebrate their day, the ministry can help organise a small exhibition of sculptures or even paintings, so that we represent our own country,” he

Mariga also said raw materials had been another major drawback, limiting the performance of the industry.

Speaking about his own art, he said the expenses he incurred buying raw materials were hardly recovered through sculpture sales.

“I fetch the stones I work on from different mines, so suppose I have two tonnes of raw materials today, they might be all finished in two or three months, but to sell the sculptures I go for eight or more months without selling a single sculpture, hence I will be forced to do other jobs to raise money for me to go back to the mine,” he said.

And selling has now become quite tricky because seasonal buyers from other countries are no longer coming due to old age.

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