OMASIGANDA guitarist-cum-stone carver Richard Mupumha and Afro fusion singer Rhone Anderson livened up Chitungwiza Arts Centre when Jobst Von Kirchman, head of European Union delegation to Zimbabwe launched the Unity Peace and Cultural Diversity Visual Art Competition last week as part of Culture Month celebrations.

Speaking after the tour of the Chitungwiza Arts Centre garden which houses sculptures resonating with the Culture Month theme: Promoting Cultural Diversity, Unity and Peace, Von Kirchman said the country’s Constitution was rooted in the fundamental understanding that tolerance of cultural diversity was important for socio-economic and political growth of the nation. 

“We are seeing different sculptures that go hand-in-hand with the theme Promoting Cultural Diversity, Unity and Peace we are launching today. We are here to launch a competition where artists provide cultural expressions on diversity,” he said.

“The Culture Month marks the beginning of many activities and programmes and to that effect the European Union has a budget of over €2 million to champion this cause. Moreso an additional €10 million has been set aside specifically for the African regional competitions which include Zimbabwe.”

Artists can apply for grants ranging from €1 000 to €10 000.

During the tour of Chitungwiza Arts Centre, it was realised that female artists needed to up their game as their numbers were still below the 50% gender policy requirements.

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Welcoming the European Union at her tent which showcased mats, hats and blankets weaved from tree barks, prominent bark weaver Thelma Boetrics said cultural refinement was her personal drive that came with refined culturally oriented mats, hats and other artefacts.

Stone carver Shelton Mubayi showcased Raka Raka a girl child game which helps girls to improve on their body agilities; while Farai Nyakanyanza became one of the favourites with his mixed stone art figurine of dolomite, granite, spring stone, agate and lepidolite which depict conversations among civilisations.

Apart from entertaining guests with songs like Ndiani Akandipa Chipo, Imheni Here?, Tinoda Kutaura Nemi and Pasi Pano Idandaro,  Mupumha also caused a stir through his piece of sculpture.

The artefact shows people from different worlds being united as an African dish is dished out from a big clay pot.

Female artist Tracy Chatsama, famed for Paivepo Hippo carvings, bemoaned lack of copyright protection on her artworks.

Toddlers Robyn Majoni and Rufaro Kaseke from Barney’s place preschool were the toast of the day with their poem titled Africa.

Rhone Anderson livened the Arts Centre after a dull moment following the rescheduling of the competition’s deadline to next month to accommodate more bold and succinct creative work that addresses the Culture Month theme.

National Arts Council of Zimbabwe deputy director Josiah Kusena said this year’s Culture Month was marked by various activities across the nation.

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