First Floor Gallery branches out to Vic Falls

Kundai Marunya

Arts Correspondent

At a time when many art institutions are suffering from the effects of Covid-19, First Floor Gallery Harare (FFGH) will next month expand their operations to Victoria Falls.

The gallery which was recently named as one of 10 galleries around the world to follow for the best of emerging contemporary art by Art Connect, one of the world’s largest online communities of art and art professionals, will open its second branch at Elephant’s Walk complex in the resort town.

FFGH marketing director Marcus Gora said the expansion will benefit art practitioners outside Harare.

“For too long Harare has gotten the lion’s share of attention and opportunities when it comes to visual art development.

“It is time to give back and support the talent across the country; that is why we decided to open a new space,” said Gora.

Gora said the gallery will be important in audience engagement

“We have always been about supporting emerging artists in Zimbabwe and not just Harare.

“It is has always been important for us to empower a new generation of art professionals as well as artists to ensure sustainability and growth in the art sector in the country.

“Our plan for First Floor Gallery Victoria Falls is to help mentor art managers and artists in the region from Binga to Bulawayo and create local and international visibility to best talents across the country,” he said.

The new space will be officially launched with an exhibition with a plan to host a programme of exhibitions, workshops and residencies.

Earlier this year, the gallery hosted their fifth outing at the Investec Cape Town Art Fair, where they successfully presented solo artist Amanda Mushate as part of “Tomorrows/Today” curated section, while their other artists Gresham Nyaude, Julio Rizhi and Wycliffe Mundopa exhibited in the main section.

“In Harare, we opened the year in March with an experimental installation exhibition by Zanele Mutema and Zacharaha Magasa, based on a three months long residency both artists did with us at the end of 2019,” said Gora.

“Wycliffe Mundopa had a planned solo exhibition in London with Kristin Hjellegjerde gallery in May, which went ahead successfully; we also took part in the online version of ARCOLisboa, which replaced the live event in May”.

When Covid-19 restrictions were relaxed, the gallery opened, with a virtual launch, Julio Rizhi solo show, “Chakapfukidza”.

First Floor Gallery Harare was founded in 2009 as an experimental artist initiative, in a tailor’s workshop in 2009 on the tail end of hyperinflation.

Over the past decade it has become Zimbabwe’s and region’s leading international gallery.

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