Tafadzwa Zimoyo Arts Reporter
Jibilika Arts director and founder Plot Mhako will represent the country at the International Society for Performing Arts fellowship and congress which takes place in New York, United Stated from January 12 to 16.
The congress is a global network of more than 450 leaders in the performing arts with representation from more than 185 cities and all regions of the globe.
Some of the countries to take part include Scotland, Netherlands, United Kindgom, Bulgaria, China, India, Nigeria, Cuba, Egypt, Uganda and Zimbabwe among others
ISPA members include facilities, performing arts organisations, artist managers, competitions, funders, consultants and other professionals working in the performing arts.
In an interview Mhako said he was happy to take part in this fellowship programme as it will go a long way to develop his career and organisation.
“Art is art and we need to continue doing something for it to improve it further by gathering all the necessary and reliable information. I am happy they accepted me on the merits of the work I am doing with Jibilika and Kuenda Productions. ISPA’s leadership development programmes were created to provide emerging and mid-career performing arts professionals with the opportunity to expand their international networks by attending an ISPA Congress and joining the membership,” he said.
“I will meet up with well established directors from other countries and my goal is to expose the Zimbabwean creative sector which has been overlooked for years now despite a lot of Zimbabwean at home and in the Diaspora making marks in different spheres of art. This platform will help Zimbabwe by making connections not only for me and my organization but for the entire arts industry and keep the country on the global radar,” he said.
Mhako said being accepted for the programme is an indication that Zimbabwe is on the right track when it comes to arts.
“What we need more is for the Government to create a more enabling environment for artists and arts to thrive because the truth is the world is yet to experience the fullness of our Zimbabwean flavour and they are hungry for it. This can do a lot in tourism promotion as well as increasing direct foreign investment. But this can only happen if we get more support at home,” he said.
Asked why he left early, Mhako said it is because he want to network with fellow counterparts.
“I am already in the US in California ahead of the program to make contacts for several dancers and artists to perform at various platforms and festivals in 2016,”.
Mhako’s organisation is empowering the voices of young people through innovative programming, multimedia activism, mentorship and volunteering in schools, communities and works on strategies and trainings to professionalise young upcoming artists.
His work includes community outreach, dance training and civic development in an effort to expose teens and youth to new opportunities and potential livelihoods in the face of unemployment, HIV and drug abuse.