Tawanda Marwizi Arts Correspondent
Spanish designer Manuel Fernandez who is in Zimbabwe for a familiarisation programme visited a number of places including Dominic Benhura’s gallery on Tuesday.
Fernandez who was accompanied by Tourism and Hospitality Industry Deputy Minister Anastacia Ndlovu, Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi’s wife Babra and officials from the ministry, met a number of fashion designers and artists in the capital.
At Dominic Studio, the designer met visual artists including renowned sculptor Lazarus Takawira, former model Brita Masalethulini and other fashion designers.
Fernandez has done a number of exhibitions across the world and the visit to Zimbabwe marks his first time entry in Africa.
He met Minister Mzembi two years ago when the minister invited him to Zimbabwe.
He was happy to meet designers tand wishes to work with them when he hosts an exhibition in Zimbabwe sometime this year.
“I am very happy to be visiting Zimbabwe for the first time and I am impressed by the artists here and their work,” he said.
The designer urged the artists to diversify their artwork so as to make an impact on the international market.
Deputy Minister Ndlovu said by bringing the world class designer to the country, they were marketing Zimbabwe through a fashionable way.
“As Ministry of Tourism we have to find creative ways of marketing the country as a tourist destination and by inviting Fernandez here we are putting the country on the limelight in a fashionable way,” she said.
She said the designer’s exhibitions attract millionaires in the world and it was important to have an exhibition with him here in Zimbabwe.
“This man here hosts exhibitions that are attended by millionaires and if we have an exhibition for him we will be advertising Zimbabwe to key marketers,” she added.
The interaction came as a huge relief to a number of designers as they will have a golden opportunity to showcase their works at the exhibition.
His vast experience in art will leave designers and artists in Zimbabwe working together to produce quality pieces of work.
“The art-design partnership is able to create a new aesthetic language where the artist is the protagonist and the designer the scenic support,” he said.
Fernandez has toured a number of countries in the world with Zimbabwe being the first to host his exhibition in Africa.
He will tour some galleries in Victoria Falls and Nyanga before he leaves the country.