Artists in Bulawayo
A thriving artistic community in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second city, has come about through decades of local and national support, particularly for contemporary art…
The National Gallery of Zimbabwe in Bulawayo works closely with its larger sister in Harare, but has a much more hands-on approach. Cutting edge exhibitions have opened residents’ eyes to contemporary art, and the gallery has been very active in encouraging the development of local talent.
Just down the road, the Mzilikazi Arts and Crafts Centre has been crucial to this development. It was established in the early sixties to provide art training for local people, especially schoolchildren. Hundreds of schoolchildren attend part-time for lessons in the basics, and older school-leavers with artistic flair can enrol full-time for three-year courses. Many of the tutors are very famous artists, such as Adam Madebe and David Ndlovu. Past and present teachers have been inspirational mentors for today’s young artists promoted by Guruve.
Established artists, gallery personnel and local patrons have come together to form the Visual Artists’ Association of Bulawayo (VAAB). It aims to encourage and stimulate artists in the Bulawayo area, and to contribute to Zimbabwean culture. It promotes the artists and their work at home and abroad and encourages ties between artists and cultural bodies. Importantly, it is very active in developing young talent, and holds various classes and practical sessions, plus lectures and filmshows to encourage creative thought and experience. All the artists from Bulawayo that Guruve promote are members of VAAB.
One of the founding principles of Guruve is that we should invest in the future of art in Africa and use income to boost the limited resources of the artists we promote – all part of building strong long-term relationships.
In 2002, Guruve sponsored a workshop for schoolchildren and young artists in Bulawayo. Through a donation to VAAB we financed an event open to local young artists. The two-day event was held in the Matopos National Park – full of awe-inspiring natural scenery. Approximately 30 participants of school age had the unique opportunity to immerse themselves in art for three days. We hope it gave them the experience and confidence to consider becoming full-time artists in the future. It was such a success that a bigger event was held in April 2003, again with Guruve as the main sponsor.
So even a small company such as Guruve can make a massive contribution to the efforts of local individuals and organisations. We pride ourselves on doing business the way it should be done – with mutual respect and friendship.
We have made many friends in Bulawayo and are now fulfilling our promise to the artists to promote them and their work internationally.
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