The Outreach Program has progressed quite well and benefited the intended target groups, that is, marginalized artists from Matabeleland rural and urban communities in line with the Vision and Objectives of the National Gallery of Zimbabwe in Bulawayo. It is a noble initiative to uplift the living conditions of marginalized artists such as women, youths and the handicapped through the Outreach Programme. We are all aware that with the current prevailing economic conditions and high interest rates charged by banks, it is not possible for all people to be formally employed or to join the informal sector to earn a living. Hence, some initiatives like the Outreach Programme go a long way in promoting self-sustenance as well as improving lives of the marginalized in society especially women. Outreach Programmes contribute to capacity building or increased agency, leadership of members of marginalized groups and the non-discriminatory activities in society. Change in attitudes of males and females as regards to participation and voice of women in the Zimbabwean society is also promoted.
2006 promises to be a better year for the Outreach Programmes. The experience gained during 2005 will definitely help us to achieve our objectives as closely as possible. This coming year should reflect our capabilities since the way has been paved in the past year and we are better focused thus the contacts made should see us through to success. Therefore, which results we want to achieve should be central to the programme design from the beginning. The major objective is, “what does the Outreach Programme strives to achieve, for whom, in what way and which role the Outreach realistically play in the achievement of that goal?” To answer the above questions, there are eight (8) proposed major projects to be embarked upon in 2006 in an effort to promote Humanist values or rights, balance inequality (gender sensitivity), economic status and integration of marginalized artists. The proposed projects are namely Matopo rock art-awareness education, Intwasa arts festival, Web site and Internet installation, Binga Art works, Thatha Radio, Mural public displays, Batik workshop and Plumtree Pottery products.
The National gallery of Zimbabwe In Bulawayo has over the years been running a rudimentary outreach programme, up to date we are pleased to let you know that it has managed to be relevant in to the community that the NGB aims to serve and has been gathering momentum over the years.
Since October 2006 the outreach programme has engaged Cliford Zulu an arts administrator to run the programme. Up to date, we have been able to reach out and undertaken programmes like the, cross-cultural Small heads big minds exhibition, which opened at the institution on the 26th of October 2006 bringing together 10 young talented painters from the cosmopolitan city of Kings. The programme gave the artists and opportunity to learn about each other’s cultures thereby creating a unity of purpose.
In the same month of October the programe established the beadwork project and has managed to identify two talented beadwork artists in the community to run the project with the view of economically empower women and to generate income for the sustainance of the outreach programme in general. The project has managed to produce amazing beadworks product that are marketed through the Sabona Sales Shop and other local markets. The programme will soon be holding workshops for the empowerment of local women especially the urban young girls.
November the outreach office through the artists support programme sponsored the local Artists in the 20th Visual Artists’ Association of Bulawayo, VAAB annual exhibition. The exhibition which is the highlight of the Gallery calendar was graced by the General Manager of the ZITF Company Mr. Daniel Chigaru before a supportive crowd that celebrated and witnessed the awards to the outstanding works and Artists.
To mark the end of the exhibition calendar, the programme responded to the plight of the handicapped artists in our society, Mandla Ndlovu who suffers from Muscular Dystrophy and Nompilo Nkomo who uses her feet to draw. They where supported with Art materials and challenged to work towards an exhibition. The ‘Abilities Beyond’ exhibition opened on the 14th of December 2006 by, the Manager of the KG1V center Mrs. I. Hussey before a crowd that showed a lot of interest in the work and the artists. The show left most viewers surprised on the level of talent that is in our community and pledged to support the initiative into 2007.
The outreach programme in Bulawayo seeks to economically empower women and young artists in the rural and urban communities, by identifying, supporting and nurturing artistic talent and the promotion of the sustainable use of the environment so that the projects they embark on will benefit the future generations.