Sponsored Workshop Email 2003

Sponsored workshop 2003 email

The following email was received from the Visual Artists’ Association in Bulawayo (VAAB) after the Second Young Artists’ Workshop, sponsored by Guruve. It was a major success and all parties are hoping it will become an annual event…

From: Visual Artists’ Association of Bulawayo
Received: 7 May 2003
Subject: Second Young Artists’ Workshop

We held the Second Young Artists Workshop at Maleme Dam in Matopos National Park on 14 – 16 April 2003. There were 25 participants, mainly from Mzilikazi Arts and Crafts Centre and also from local schools. The rest were senior VAAB members who came to boost the moral of the participants; in total 30 people were at Maleme Dam. Facilitators covered stone and ceramic sculpture, painting, textiles and printmaking.

On arrival, we went straight into the programme by introducing the facilitators and participants, and outlining the objectives of the workshop. Just before lunch the facilitators introduced the theory of their projects – after lunch the camp was quiet as everyone was busy at work till 4pm when we had refreshments and sports.

After supper we held campfire discussions. Topics covered were art as employment, art and the media and marketing of art. The discussions went on till late (after 10pm); there was a feeling that more time should be given to the discussions. After a busy day we went to bed.

It was rise and shine in the beautiful Maleme Dam on day two with baboons and warthogs joining us for breakfast. We evaluated day one verbally and then it was back to the groups and continuation of the projects, a break for lunch then we had a life-drawing class for an hour.

We were hoping to have the visit by the acting Director of the National Gallery Mr Voti Thebe and guest artist Izrael Ndlovu as we formally opened the workshop however they couldn’t come because or fuel problems, which had gone up by almost 200%. We decided to go on an environmental awareness programme in three groups, this way to tour the camp and also to familiarize themselves with nature and report back on the group’s findings.

After supper, the campfire discussions this time looked at issues affecting VAAB, like the need for an office with computers, photocopier, internet access etc., for artists to have a place to meet, and a staff person to champion the needs of the Artist. The issue of plagiarism was looked at and there was need for VAAB to put in a policy to protect the Artist from unscrupulous dealers. And many more topics than this went on till the
very early hours of Wednesday, a very rich and powerful discussion it was.

After breakfast on day three, it was back into groups and this time final touches were being put to the works. Then after tea break we had all the works displayed and we went on to the presentations and critique sessions. This was the cream of the workshop as one by one the participants presented their projects, explaining in detail the title, inspiration, the feeling, pricing etc. We then evaluated the workshop on paper with a vote of thanks from participants and VAAB.

Issues Affecting The Workshop
Like any other event there’s bound to be obstacles here and there. Generally the deteriorating economic situation, the high cost of fuel and food, and the non-availability of basic commodities. These issues and more strained the organisation at the workshop – hence we had to reduce the number of days to 3 instead of 5 and maintained the number of 30. However, organising in advance helps as we had everything ready to go.

Comparing it to last year is not fair, as this event was powerful in terms of time. In content, basically everything was almost perfect. The facilitators were rich in skill; accommodation was more than enough; food was just there for the people. Maybe the materials were not enough, but everyone had something to do.

We learnt from experience and I can tell you we’re already working for the 3rd Young Artists as all of Zimbabwe is now aware of it. It is our hope that as more and more people co-operate, the world will recognise the need to develop Young Artists and come in with resources. At the same time, we realise that the country is economically in “trouble”.

In conclusion, on behalf of the committee and the participants, I would like to thank you Guruve for the continued support of the workshop. May you convince others to do the same. Hoping that you will continue next year in April and the weather will be good.

Siyabonga (Thank you)

Clifford Zulu
CHAIRMAN, Visual Artists’ Association of Bulawayo
May 2003

Related links:

Sponsored workshop

Email from the first workshop

Ethical business

The Guruve story

Young sculptors

Artists in Bulawayo