Scripts and Bars lights up Creative Economy Week CBD MaUlenni Okhandlovu (left) and Marcus Zvinavashe enjoying proceedings at First Floor Gallery.

Arts Correspondent

Striking a balance between creativity, popularity and earning from one’s art has always been a major challenge in local art.

This is often highlighted by how creatives turn to begging for support, be it for medical care, food or even to fund their projects.

Some have enslaved themselves to the rich who are willing to throw in some money if one dances to their tune.

As veteran music producer Clive ‘Mono’ Mukundu rightly put it, we have many celebrities who are “poor and famous”.

This situation is not only found in music, but all genres, maybe worse so in genres that have not found as much a bigger appreciation on the local market as music has.

These are indicators of a creative economy in a dire state, mainly due to lack of professionalism and finding the right mentorship and familiarising with working models that have transformed other countries’ creative sectors into multi-million dollar industries.

This is what the Creative Economy Week has been addressing through seminars, workshops, discussions, art showcases, exhibition and other art business programming, from March 1 ending yesterday.

The event is organised by British Council in partnership with several other arts stake holders including embassies, arts collectives, galleries and venues.

A significant showcase of how the initiative has been shaping the local art sector was evident by an amazing display of talent by a wide array of artists from different genres took turns to entertain a sizeable audience that attended the ‘Scripts and Bars’ show at The Venue in Avondale.

It was much more than a show, but an art experience where poets, musicians and comedians took turns to serenade their audience while mini documentaries ran in between performances to educate those in attendance on the reach of the programme beyond the show.

It was during those video interludes that the audience got to know of Kudakwashe Rwizi, an animator who once aspired to work with big brands like Disney, but after mentor-ship he published his comic book “Mutupo” which has been enjoying global reach.

Rwizi signed a publishing deal with Noir Cesar, a publishing company that specialises in African Manga boasting distribution of his book to North America and Europe.

The same interludes exposed to the audience to the depth of the work being done by the programme since its inception in 2020.

Scripts and Bars is a brain child of Kay Media Africa with support of British Council.

Let’s forget about the loud-mouth rappers who flood the airwaves for a minute, there is an amazing pool of talent that well fit for international export if five-time Zim Hip Hop Awards winning rapper Indigo Saint’s performance is anything to go by.

With the backing of a live band, the rapper put up a good performance of his song “Mdlali” that puts him on the path to dethrone the current crop of top hip hop stars.

When Lalla Martin got on stage strumming her mbira, while donning a black dress and bald head, everyone could not help, but pay attention. Lalla put up a touching performance fusing mbira with pop and classic jazz creating a magical feel that superimposing her to be one of the best acts of the evening.

Meanwhile, stakeholders have praised organisers of the Creative Economy Week for amplifying efforts by local creatives in building a sustainable sector.

Tawanda Mudzonga of Korokoza Creative who were part of the a full day program held at First Floor Gallery on Friday said art can lead to financial growth.

“Korokoza Creative is so excited to be a part of Creative Economy Week,” said Mudzonga. “It is an incredible beginning of changing the meaning of what it means to be an artist in Zimbabwe. Art is commerce. It is a largely untapped means of financial growth.”

Mudzonga said their showcase attracted a good number.

“We at Korokoza Creative use Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) to tell African stories,” she said. “As such, our platform is huge and what we learned at our showcase day on Friday is that people are really excited about the technology and finding ways to use it to have different experiences.”

On the day, First Floor Gallery was a hive of activity as the audience also got a chance to walk about the ongoing “Drowning in My Senses” exhibition by Again Chikuwamba.

It was also at the gallery where fashionistas proved their mantle with Skeyi and Strobo (SS)’s CBD Market which easily became one of the week’s major highlights.

SS co-founder Ulenni Okhandovu said the Creative Economy Week amplified their platform.

“The Creative Economy Week amplified what we were already doing through support and collaboration,” he said. “We attracted over 500 people which is a huge number and an affirmation of the importance of what we are doing.”

Another fashion highlight was the ‘I Wear My Culture” event held at British Council offices on Sunday afternoon.

Presented by Paper Bag Africa, Creative Mice Films and Val Juma Photography, the event saw stakeholders in highly progressive, thought provoking, indaba on fashion culture and inclusion.

To shutdown the highly inclusive Creative Economy Week was a business breakfast meeting, held yesterday.

The meeting focused on re-imagining creative business space, exploring best practice cases of working together with a keynote presentation from Business Arts South Africa (BASA).

Creatives engaged on exploring sustainable opportunities in the current context for commercialising the creative industry.

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