BY ALFRED TEMBO
THE National Gallery of Zimbabwe (NGZ) in Bulawayo is ushering the visual arts sector into a new era of inclusivity and unity by focusing on bridging historically broken linkages.
Silenkosi Moyo, the regional manager of NGZ in Bulawayo, is determined to dispel the stereotype that art is limited to big cities.
She said they were continuing to embrace artists from rural communities and small towns across the country's southern region.
She emphasised the administration’s commitment to actively seek and nurture talent in underrepresented areas.
“Our administration is committed to changing the narrative that art is solely produced in the big cities,” Moyo said.
“We now actively search for talent in rural communities and small towns as well.
“This dedicated commitment aligns with one of the strategies outlined in the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) for art and culture, which focuses on promoting and coordinating the development, marketing, and management of art, culture, heritage centres, and related products and services.”
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By expanding their reach to these communities, NGZ is providing equal opportunities and support to artists across all areas within their zone.
NGZ in Bulawayo is currently promoting the annual provincial exhibition (APE) titled Stand Up, which will run from October 5 to January 31, 2024.
The call for submissions closes on September 1 and there is no predetermined limit on the number of artists participating.
The selection will be based on the quantity and quality of works submitted.
"The Stand Up exhibition focuses on artists based in the Midlands region,” Moyo said.
“While the exact number of communities involved is not specified, artists from various communities within the Midlands area are encouraged to submit their works.”
The novel approach to arts development implemented by NGZ is yielding positive results for the region. The artists they promote and support continue to grow and progress in their artistic journeys.
“Our aim is to provide a platform for artists to express their creativity, gain recognition, and contribute to the cultural landscape of the region,” said Moyo.
NGZ in Bulawayo encourages artists to take advantage of their self-sponsored residency programme for emerging artists.
This initiative, the organisation said, has helped reposition the gallery as an accessible place, especially for young artists from rural communities.
“While the current call for artists is dedicated to Midlands-based artists, NGZ in Bulawayo aims to be inclusive of artists from the rest of the southern region communities, which were overlooked in the past,” Moyo said.
To address this disparity, the annual provincial exhibition was launched in 2021.
The first exhibition, titled Peripheral Chronicles, showcased artists from Midlands.
In 2022, the exhibition expanded to include artists from Gwanda, Beitbridge, Plumtree, and Midlands, each exhibiting under a different theme.
Moyo said NGZ's commitment to inclusivity and its efforts to promote artists from diverse backgrounds are propelling the visual arts sector forward, fostering unity, and creating new opportunities for artists to thrive.