The National Gallery of Zimbabwe will host three activities which coincide with the Zimbabwe International Book Fair. These comprise two shows, namely the “Tavatose/Sisonke” and the “Folklore Exhibition” and a teachers workshop, which will coincide with the Zimbabwe International Book Fair.

The Zimbabwe International Book Fair, which will be run under the theme “Growing the Knowledge Economy through Research, Writing, Publishing and Reading” will run from July 27 to August 2.

“Tavatose/Sisonke” 2015 was officially opened at the gallery on July 4 with the support of the Environmental Management under the theme “Going. . .Going. . .Gone…Vanishing Wetlands”.

The exhibition’s aim is to promote artistic talent at a young age whilst focusing on specific areas of concern for the nation as well as developing a greater awareness of the importance of preserving wetlands. In addition, the exhibition was done with the hope of developing awareness at an early age of issues around availability or non-availability of water and the consequences of this on the lives of people.

This exhibition features 616 artworks, which were presented by seven provinces to the National Gallery, and these include Mashonaland Central, Harare, Bulawayo, Manicaland, Mashonaland West and East and Matabeleland South. The artworks included drawings, paintings, collages, mixed media and 3Ds.

“Zimbabwe’s wetlands are rich in biodiversity, which is of great economic, cultural, scientific, recreational, and environmental value,” said the director of Environmental Management Agency, Mr A Chigona who was also the guest of honour for the event.

“They are also important for primary products such as pastures, timber and fish, unfortunately, this rich national heritage is under threat from competing sectorial interests and increasing demands from housing and commercial developments in urban areas.

“In rural areas, wetlands are threatened mainly by agricultural activities, such as farming, gardening and grazing,” he said.

The Folklore Exhibition, which is an exploration of the unsung art form marries folktales and myths and was officially opened at the gallery on July 14. This exhibition includes works from Ivory Coast, Tanzania and Ghana among others, which were recently acquired through a donation to the gallery by one of the late art collectors. This exhibition presents some of the unusual items in an exploration of this unsung art form.

It captures the peculiarities and creative brilliance of folk art today as a reflection of the true ethos of mankind. The subject of this exhibition is an integral part of everyone’s life.

The items displayed in this exhibition are from the National Gallery’s Permanent Collection, Konde Sculptures and Tinga-Tinga sculptures.

The Permanent Collection began as a collection of specifically different media such as wood, clay and cloth.

What emerged though was a sort of fantastical collection of work that bore innate and curious stories, not only of their acquisition, but also more interestingly in their form.

Some of the works presented come from artistic icons like Crispen Matekenya with his “Musicians and Dancers”, Fanizani Akuda’s “Two People Carrying a Lizard”, Joseph Muli’s “Owl Bird” and Leocadia Ndandarika’s “Figure of Man” among others.

These symbolic pieces on display fulfil the notion that art, like religion should be a school of self-transcendence. “Witch and Her mate” by Sylvester Mubayi is expanding individual awareness into cosmic awareness.

“Folk Art is a forum for social encounters or commentary,” said the curator for the show and the Conservation and Collections Manager for the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Ms Lilian Chaonwa.

“It reveals our day to day lives, stages of life and the practises in the societies. It is a representative of our cultural identity and heritage.”

The Teachers Workshop, which will be held on the July 30 and is designed to help teachers find meaning and pleasure in the visual arts, learn about the importance of art, curriculum connections and model methods of teaching art and lastly, presenting student’s work for art exhibition, which includes mounting of artworks and displays.

All programmes will be facilitated by art practitioners from Curriculum Development, Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council and Gallery specialists. A small fee of $20 per person will be charged to cover teas, lunches and “Tavatose Sisonke”, “Exhibition Vanishing Wet lands Catalogue 2015”.

Teachers of all subjects (pre-kindergarten through to form 6), home scholars, and pre-service educators are welcome. Space is limited, so please register early.

The Zimbabwe International Book Fair is an annual conference, which is the major forum for debating critical issues to the book industry in Africa.

It is also a unique National platform for networking and collaborating among stakeholders.

It is the largest and most important book fair in sub-Saharan Africa, held annually during the first week of August in the beautiful Harare sculpture gardens.

  • Written by Kudzai S. Makoni. From the office of the executive director, Mrs. D. Sibanda.

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