BY TENDAI SAUTA
RAPHEL Chikukwa, the commissioner for the Zimbabwean Pavilion and National director for the National Art Galleries of Zimbabwe said he came back from Italy’s 59th Venice Binnielle Exhibition a much more focused person with desire to groom more visual artists in Zimbabwe for international showcases.
Uniquely, for the sixth time the Pavillion of Zimbabwe at la Biennale de Venezia was supported by a high-powered delegation which had Youth, Arts and Sports ministry permanent secretary Thokozile Chitepo, director, Biggie Samwanda, Raphel Chikukwa and curator Fadzai Veronica Muchemwa in support of exhibitors Wallen Mapondera, Ronald Muchatuta, Kressiah Mukwazhi and Terrence Musekiwa, who did the nation pride by being rated 7th by globally acclaimed curators www.artsy.net, in addition to receiving positive reviews from several media outlets.
Chikukwa told NewsDay Life & style that Chitepo, in her opening remarks of the Pavillion of Zimbabwe at la Biennale de Venezia expressed sincere gratitude for the growth of Zimbabwe’s arts industry and urged the National Art Gallery of Zimbabwe to open more opportunities for local artists whose imagination has appealed to many across the globe.
“Our exhibition Pavillion of Zimbabwe at la Biennale de Venezia entitled Did not leave a sign, was rated seventh in the world by global curators and thus motivating the permanent secretary, who gave our opening remarks to challenge the National Gallery of Zimbabwe to open its eyes to more emerging opportunities across the world.”
Similarly, Youth, Arts and Sports minister, Kirsty Coventry in her foreword said: “In line with the government’s national development strategy, this exhibition holds great depth in enhancing the visibility of our visual arts industry, and it is properly geared towards the positive image building of Zimbabwe. As we move towards a prosperous society, the consumption of creative and cultural goods and services from Zimbabwe is crucial as it narrates the lived experiences of our nation.”
“With each appearance of our artists at the Venice Biennale, the appreciation of our art has grown from strength to strength. The Government of Zimbabwe will continue to support the National Gallery of Zimbabwe’s inroads into the global art market as it promotes the visual arts sector with content that is socially cohesive and presents our complex national identity to fully convey it for broader understanding by the global audience.”
Commenting on the artistry and way forward, Chikukwa said a reflecting mindset was needed in order to map the best way forward in life.
“Zimbabwean artists had a global appeal because of their themes which are derived from a cultural heritage perspective. Two Zimbabweans namely Kudzanai Violet Hwami and Portia Zvavahera appeared in the Main pavilion at the Arsenal and Giardini and were awarded grants to uplift and promote their artistic works,” Chikukwa said.
Chikukwa, who curated the Zimbabwean Pavillion and rose to be the commissioner, said he was focused on grooming the next generation of artists who would continue to fly high the Zimbabwean flag.
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