POSITION ADVERTISEMENT EDUCATION OFFICER, ngz harare

Applications are invited from suitably qualified and experienced persons to fill the position of Education Officer which has arisen within the National Gallery of Zimbabwe.

KEY DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

• Assist in the developing the Education Program of the Gallery, making full use of Collections and Exhibitions. Designing and implementing the Gallery’s educational outreach program•

Liaising with formal schools to receive pupils and create program for classroom use•

Staging non-formal Workshops for pupils in the Gallery and beyond.•

Assist in creation of educational information and pamphlets for various audiences.•

Assist in staging Annual Schools Art Exhibition and liaising with the Gallery’s Visual Art Studio to create Gallery youth centered educational program.•

Reinforce and consolidate ties with a core of schools and establish and maintain postal contact with a selection of high density and provincial schools in a systematic manner – acquire contracts from Regional Galleries.•

Produce termly newsletters and maintain weekly contact with member schools to enable them to visit the Gallery to access programs throughout the year.•

Assist in marketing the Culture Box and consider smaller themed boxes with accompanying information.•

Maintain monthly Gallery flyers and information documentation aimed at school groups and children visiting the Gallery – related to the Exhibitions and Art History.•

Work with the Visual Arts Studio to identify schools in need of art clubs and find ways to stimulate and assist them to start with the assistance of our students•

Assist in staging termly workshops for art teachers offering theoretical and practical tips for teaching art in the classrooms and making use of the Gallery art and Collections. Ensure all teacher engagement and support for new curriculum.•

Work with the Collections Department to stage shows that are pertinent to the schools’ curriculum themes and art history and appreciation.•

Ensure that the Gallery projects are child friendly and that programs reflect a learning environment. Conduct Saturday art lessons to increase art appreciation.

COMPETENCE AND SKILLS FOR POST:The person must possess:1) Bed in Art Degree; Diploma in Education or related field;2) Excellent problem solving, analytical, IT and numerical abilities.3) Experience working in a government setting will be an added advantage

Interested candidates must submit their applications enclosing a detailed Curriculum Vitae and certified copies of qualifications, clearly marked:The Executive DirectorNational Gallery of Zimbabwe “Education Officer”20 Julius Nyerere WayP.O Box CY 848Causeway HARAREor hr@nationalgallery.co.zw

Deadline for submission of applications is close of business on 20 November 2020.

ONLY SHORT LISTED CANDIDATES MEETING THE ABOVE REQUIREMENTS WILL BE CONTACTED.

1st Bulawayo Annual Exhibition, Artist Call Out.

  • THE BULAWAYO ANNUAL EXHIBITION Is an annual exhibition designed to celebrate the pinnacles of southern region achievements in the visual arts. A platform to experience the very best artwork Bulawayo has to offer, in the form of paintings, drawings, sculpture, prints and craft by from professional and emerging artists.
  • The Annual Exhibition is a curated project presenting artists whose work would have not been shown anywhere, seen alongside some of the best artists today. Through the Annual Exhibition, the Gallery will offer support and encouragement especially to the emerging artists through our local and international residency programs, Life Drawing Classes and workshops throughout the following year.
  • The National Gallery intends to use the Annual Exhibition to identify, support, promote and award outstanding talent such as Best Female Artists, Young Artist of Promise and Overall Outstanding Artists for 2020. Ultimately, the Gallery will collect and conserve contemporary masterpieces in several media that reflects the enthusiasm, relevance, originality, diversity and soul of the people of the region and beyond.
  • The emphasis is to encourage artists to produce their best works for the local and international community to see and collect talent, in so doing promoting the visibility and viability of art and playing a fundamental role in the positioning Zimbabwean artists in the world art market.
  • Locally, the Annual Exhibition will be didactic on the pedagogies of Zimbabwean culture, history, present reality, and futuristic envisions powered by digital formulae. The Annual Exhibition of Bulawayo will initially be held at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe in Bulawayo, and also includes awards ceremony, related activities such as Friday Late and the Bulawayo Conversations between December and February 2021.  The annual exhibition will then incorporate Mat. South, North, Midlands and Masvingo provinces.
  • In 2021 the Annual Exhibition will also incorporate private studios doted around the city creating space for art and culture professionals to meet and participate on various platforms like exhibitions, presentations and workshops pursuing and interrogating the current state of art and curatorial practice in the country.
  • It is the mission of the National Gallery to shape the curatorial practice in Zimbabwe and enable new players to occupy the creative spaces, spearheading the visibility of Zimbabwean art locally and across the globe. To facilitate the artists retuning back home to adapt, improve, transform and implement home grown solutions to our creative work. The Annual Exhibition reassures a solid base of direct interactions with local and international buyers in a friendly environment.

For entry form and more details please contact the Curator on 292270721 or email: c.zulu@nationalgallery.co.zw

Call for Applications to lease the National Gallery Bulawayo Restaurant

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The National Gallery of Zimbabwe in Bulawayo is inviting registered companies to apply to lease the gallery restaurant as from 1 January 2021.

The restaurant is a very important and strategic component of the overall Gallery visitor experience. The lessee is expected to provide fresh meals and teas, maintain high professional standards and have a passion for absolute customer satisfaction. The restaurant is expected to exude an ambient atmosphere and exhibit high inclination for creativity in its operations.

Interested applicants should submit their sealed applications addressed to the Regional Director of the National Gallery in Bulawayo, 75A Joshua Nkomo Street and Leopold Takawira Avenue by 30 November 2020.

Applications must include company proof of registration, health certificate and an outline of experience in the food industry. A liquor license should also be included if applicant intends to serve alcoholic beverages.  

A non-refundable application fee of ZWL$1000 must be paid into the National Gallery of Zimbabwe bank account indicated below.

Proof of payment must be attached to the application. Failure to provide proof of payment renders the application incomplete and will therefore be disqualified.

The winning applicant will be notified by 20 December 2020.  

Bank Details:

Account Name:          National Gallery of Zimbabwe

Bank:                           First Capital Bank

Account Number:       2307-1102602

Branch:                       J.M.N.Nkomo Street

For more details, please contact: Silenkosi Moyo Tel: +263 (2922)70721 or email: s.moyo@nationalgallery.co.zw

Open Call: 2021 self-funded Exhibitions, Curatorial projects and Residency.

Application Deadline 30 November 2020

The National Gallery of Zimbabwe in Bulawayo is now accepting proposals for self-funded local and international exhibitions, Curatorial projects and Residency applications.

Local and visiting Artists and Curators wishing to present new ideas and projects in the context of the Bulawayo gallery space and emerging independent curators committed to developing their professional practice can now submit proposals for exhibitions and visiting –Artists in Residency for 2021. 

1. Artists must submit proposals for the presentation of their own (solo or collaborative) work.

2. For collaborations, artists must confirm interest/availability before they submit the proposal.

3. Artists that have not exhibited their work at the NGB over the last three years are particularly encouraged to apply. 


GUIDELINES:
While we accept submissions based on all sorts of ideas, in 2021 we remain committed to exhibiting:

1) The work of emerging contemporary artists, particularly those in the SADC region.

2) Work that contributes to the ongoing dialogue about contemporary art practices.

3) Projects that push artistic practice in new and interesting forms and directions, including digital artists as well as artists that showcase traditional art works using digital means to apply.

4) Topics and styles not well represented by private or commercial spaces or otherwise difficult to show elsewhere.

5) The work of artists previously exhibited anywhere outside Zimbabwe or itinerant exhibitions.

6) Projects that take into account our limited gallery space, thoughtful and orderly installations that respect the “breathing space” of each artwork tend to work better in our gallery.

7) Artists also keen to experiment with public art installations are also strongly encouraged to apply. 

PLEASE TAKE NOTE: The above are just guidelines, so don’t worry if your exhibition/ project doesn’t satisfy everything listed; however, they are rules.

How to Submit/ Format Requirements: Before sending the application, please make sure to have the following prepared:

1) Application letter
2) Up to 10 images of your work. The images should ideally represent the actual work selected for the exhibition. If this is impossible, the images should represent works that are comparable to those that will be featured in the exhibition. These images should be JPGS, no larger than 1024 x 768, 72dpi, preferably under 1MB.
They MUST be named in this format: 

01YourFirstName_LastName.jpg 

02YourFirstName_LastName.jpg 

03YourFirstName_LastName.jpg 

04YourFirstName_LastName.jpg 

05YourFirstName_LastName.jpg … etc


3) Up to 3 videos (*optional) of specific works which will be included in the exhibition. Please make sure each file is under 300MB and less than 5 minutes in length. If the original video is longer than that, please send an excerpt. Videos should be in MOV, MP4, or AVI format.

Do not include exhibition documentation unless the element of time is integral to the work (i.e. performance or video installations).

4) A one-page statement describing the concept of the exhibition. The file should be a PDF, RTF, or Word document.

5) An image list providing an inventory of the images submitted. Include number, artist name, title, year, medium, and dimensions. Again, make it PDF, RTF, or Word document.

6) Your resume and the resumes of any prospective collaborators. The Gallery offers residency for 1 and 3 months with the possibility of an exhibition at the end of the residency.

THE NATIONAL GALLERY WILL:

Offer artists an amazing opportunity to experience the vibrant visual arts scene of Bulawayo. This package offers preferential space for professional artists who are able to finance their self-directed studio residency at the National Gallery up to three months. The price for this residency is USD 100.00 paid in local ZWL equivalent per month. This includes studio space facilitation of your stay whilst in the city and exhibition space in the small galleries. The curator/ artist is expected to cover all other expenses including mobility, visas, health insurance, local travel, meals, and subsistence, as well as their own accommodation.  


THE NATIONAL GALLERY WILL NOT:
• Pay for your return ticket/flights to and from Bulawayo Zimbabwe.
• Pay for your travel insurance, airport taxes, and visa costs, to enter Zimbabwe see https://www.evisa.gov.zw/Home for details. (Will assist with all the necessary paperwork and clearance)
Pay for your accommodation

THE NATIONAL GALLERY MAY:
• Assist in fundraising for the mobility stipend and accommodation
• Assist in sourcing basic art materials and equipment.
• Assist in sourcing funds to make your residency as productive and comfortable as possible

Artists and Curators are encouraged to seek support to cover mobility local transport, accommodation, living and material expenses. Proposals that are incomplete, unreadable, or fail to meet the above requirements may not be considered.

Application Deadline 30 November 2020.
Successful applicants will know by 15 January 2021

Available slots are 1 April to 30 June and 4 July to 30 September and 4 October to 10 December 2021

For any questions, please contact the Curator, Cliford Zulu via email at c.zulu@nationalgallery.co.zw or sabona@mweb.co.zw telephone 00263 292270721

(en)countering crisis + re:making futures podcast

Listen to this creative climate conversation between Zimbabwe and Scotland. Hosted by Fadzai Mwakutuya in conversation with Butholezwe Kgosi Nyathi the Regional Director of National Gallery of Zimbabwe in Bulawayo to listen please follow this link https://t.co/DMy0GxtNDp?amp=1

climate Change Creative is an online artivist resource created to facilitate the sharing of original designs within the public domain; such as banners and placards which raise climate change awareness. The project is funded by Enough! and Creative Scotland. 

National Gallery of Zimbabwe, BulawayoDzimbanhete Arts and Culture Interactions Trust and Visual Artists Association of Bulawayo.

Curator of Contemporary Art: National Gallery of Zimbabwe – Harare

Deadline: 12 November 2020

The National Gallery of Zimbabwe has set itself as a center for national culture, which may inject various influences into the mainstreams of life and change the way people appreciate art and culture in their various societies through stone, metal and wooden sculptures, paintings, drawings, print works and installations. The Gallery is responsible for circulating exhibitions throughout Zimbabwe and is a focal and distributing point for art in the country. Its core business is also to preserve, conserve, research and publish the artworks collections for the education of present and future generations of Zimbabwe. The Gallery provides education through the National Gallery Visual Arts Studios (NGVAS) and also holds educational workshops, films and lectures within the Gallery as a way of promoting and educating the public about visual arts. The Gallery offers the corporate community and other civic organizations the opportunity to hire artworks from the Permanent Collection for decoration of their premises. These institutions can also hire space for private functions, exhibitions and shows. Interested people are welcome to use the Thomas Meikles Library to provide research and interest facilities.

Position summary
The position of Curator is a full-time job, as a member of the senior staff and, with the Executive Director and Curatorial team, provides artistic direction and coordination to the National Gallery of Zimbabwe’s programs. It requires enthusiasm and a passion for art in Zimbabwe. The NGZ Curator is responsible for the oversight of designated travelling exhibitions and for the conception, execution, quality, and scholarship of a number of internally generated exhibitions and their accompanying catalogues. NGZ Curator is expected to be an active and visible member of the National, Regional and International art community, and to participate in the overall institutional advancement of the Gallery.

Job description
The Curator is responsible for: general scholarship and research into contemporary art; for advancing the institution’s mission; for executing and developing support for its programs; meeting the goals of its strategic plan; heading and working closely with Senior Management.

Exhibitions: The Curator plays a significant role in the formulation of the overall direction of the Gallery’s artistic efforts and long-range exhibition schedule; prepares exhibition proposals 1-2 years in advance of exhibition dates for review and approval by the Director; originates three to four exhibitions of varying content each year with an accompanying scholarly catalogue; works to secure touring venues for exhibitions and oversees their implementation. Co-ordinates with the Curator of Education and Public Programs to plan exhibitions; works with the Conservation and Collections Manager, ensures that the highest level of professional care is given to works of art entrusted to the Gallery; works with the Executive Director and Exhibitions Office to track exhibition budgets and expenditures; fosters and actively participates in dialogue with colleagues, sharing professional opinions, and advancing ideas and knowledge related to contemporary art within and without the Gallery; maintains a visible role in the community including the maintenance of relationships with artists, galleries, collectors, donors, and members of the general public.

Public Information and Electronic Media: The Curator contributes to Gallery publications and communication efforts as requested; provides information regarding exhibitions and programs for website and social media content; collaborates with Communications and Marketing Department to prepare exhibition-related materials for public relations and marketing efforts; contributes to the development of communications and marketing strategies and materials to serve audiences and to enhance the Gallery’s image, identity, public and community outreach and donor prospects.

Development, Donor Relations, and Institutional Advancement: Under the supervision of the Executive Director, the Curator takes an active role in the identification of possible funding sources, and in grant preparation and reporting.

External Relations: Represents the Gallery to the public at large; attends exhibition previews and related events around Zimbabwe and internationally if possible and carries out any other duties as assigned.

Qualifications
The Curator of Contemporary Art must have: a Bachelor’s degree in Curatorship, Museum Studies, Fine Arts, or Art History; a Master’s degree in the above studies will be an added advantage; 5 years minimum prior experience in the curatorial and contemporary arts sector; Experience working in a government setting will be an added advantage; good knowledge of Zimbabwe and African contemporary art; good oral and written communication skills; self- motivation; initiative and ability to work as a team; excellent problem solving, analytical, IT and numerical abilities; A highly target driven self-starter and have proven leadership capacity and experience.

To apply
To apply for this position please send your CV and cover letter to hr@nationalgallery.co.zw or The Executive Director, National Gallery of Zimbabwe, 20 Julius Nyerere Way, P O Box CY848, Causeway, Harare. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

Dreams and Realities exhibition, 2020

40 years before and after 1980

30 November 2020 – 19 February 2021
 09 am – 5pm  Anglo American Gallery

Dreams and Realities is commemorating Zimbabwe’s attainment of 40 years of independence and looks back 40 years before independence through this exhibition by resident artists. Having attained black majority rule on the 18th of April 1980, Zimbabwe in 2020 celebrates 40 years of self-determination.

Through the work of resident artists namely; Omega Masuku, Dumisani Ndlovu, Miranda Mathe, Ishmael Singo, Talent Kapadza, Nonhlanhla Mathe, Stanley Sibanda, George Masarira and George Mahenga the exhibition examines the dreams and realities of Zimbabwean people in a visual perspective of Zimbabwe’s 40th anniversary. The exhibition aims to be seen as a contemporary guide for creative memory from Rhodesia to Zimbabwe. Attention is being given to often under-acknowledged events and activities as part of efforts to visualise the memory of emancipation and other elements that bring out the evolving meanings of sovereignty.

Artists are exploring various personal collective journeys, motivations, trials and tribulations of people and groups that played significant roles in the struggle for freedom.  Zimbabwe’s 40th anniversary comes at a time when the status quo has begun to understand the role that art can play in society and in the re-engagement agenda. This exhibition presents largely millennials’ perspectives of liberation struggle and contributes to the ongoing thrust to preserve and promote national liberation heritage. Dreams and Realities interrogates the evolution from pre-independence Rhodesian aspirations to the post-independence quest for reconciliation.  In this, the 5th edition of the Zimbabwe Annual Independence Exhibition, the National Gallery is focusing on the views, narratives by the people of Matebeleland 40 years before and 40 years after 1980. The highlight of the exhibition are ZAPU objects loaned from Brighton Museum in the United Kingdom.

RATIONALE The arts have contributed immensely to the visibility of Zimbabwe internationally and as a country there is need to realize the soft power that the art brings to the image of the country. Art brings people together to harness the impact and role and celebrate its achievements. Dreams and Realities provides us with a great opportunity to revisit our struggles for independence and the post-colonial traumas as we look into the future that will define us as a relatively young nation. It is also an opportunity for the born frees/ millennials to add to this narrative from their own perspective

For more details please contact the curatorial team on +263(2922)70721 or email: sabona@mweb.co.zw

Mbakisi Sibanda Championing Digital Art in the City

By Emmanuel KaNdlovu

Dexterous graphic designer, Mbakisi Sibanda, is steadily making remarkable strides in the digital art sector following his debut as the only Bulawayo artist part of the POWERPLAY exhibition, a collaborative project by the arebyte Gallery-London, National Gallery of Zimbabwe and the British Council, currently running in London.

In a recent sit-down, Sibanda revealed how he strives to always live up to his name which can be loosely translated to, “the one that helps to build” from the Kalanga language.

“I strongly believe I have to leave a mark wherever I go, it is not necessarily about myself, but purpose. Whatever I am doing has to have a purpose and this is what I am aspiring for,” Sibanda said.

“Among all the other things that I do, I am also working closely with an NGO that is helping feed and take care of the vulnerable during these hard times. Purpose is a very big part of my life,” he continued.

With daily experiences in the advertising and graphic designing worlds, Sibanda is avid about digital art and its properties that are reinforcing the relevance of art today. He firmly believes technology has broken down barriers around art as we know it.

“I have never been really good at drawing, but the computer has helped me a great deal. I now create art and it has become my way of escaping the real word. It’s my way of taking a different route from design and exploring my abilities,” Sibanda said.

The 25-year old had no prior experience with exhibitions with formal and public institutions. His involvement in the POWERPLAY exhibition came as a result of a nudge by Butholezwe Nyathi, the National Gallery in Bulawayo (NGB) Regional Director, who informed him about the project.

“Since I am not really an artist, I thought long and hard about the essence of an exhibition and replied showing interest that was inspired by adventure. I was then linked to Rebecca Edwards, the Curator at the arebyte Gallery who sent me a brief with the rest of the details. I then followed the necessary procedures and started working on my piece and they were satisfied with the results,” he revealed.

His artwork, dubbed Isolation, is a still portrayal of feeling isolated whilst hyper-connected online and the dark nature of how the internet is a huge contributor to mental and physical health ills among other social strains such as disintegration.

Isolation_Still 1

The eloquent creative broke down his work revealing he did some introspection on how the internet has affected him as an individual and although he has never been a victim, he quickly thought of the hackings and stalking he has seen being experienced by those around him. These were the points he ran with in coming up with his artwork.

Isolation_Still 2

“We often shut the outside world just to be confined to our phones on social media where we think we will find all the happiness we need but instead, we are gradually destroying ourselves by seeking validation from strangers and projecting some euphoria and this was my starting point. I immersed myself in this scenario and my feelings came through in the artwork,” Sibanda said.

Despite producing a solid polysemic work of art, the perfectionist in him felt he could have taken his piece a notch higher.

Beyond creating, Sibanda finds pleasure in the little things life has to offer. He listens to a lot of music and enjoys a good time at the movies. He also appreciates some time to himself, a space that helps him think clearly and come up with even better ideas.

His recommendations for aspiring digital artists are to work hard and to learn as many different things as possible.

“Use tools you are most comfortable with in terms of software. Know your strengths and weaknesses, that way you find your feet quickly, digital art, like fine art I guess is all about finding your style.”

“Travel a lot, that opens up your mind and helps you appreciate different perspectives. Don’t make the world as big as it seems, know yourself and be yourself,” he advised.

Going forward, the driven virtuoso looks forward to exploring different avenues with his art. He has a series around human nature that he will be showcasing on Instagram or Behance soon. He also looks forward to showcasing more of his works with the Gallery.

As digital art is fast picking up pace globally, the NGB is not far off behind as it is actively involved in promoting the practice.

“Digital art has always been on our agenda, the Covid-19 pandemic has just accelerated the momentum. Besides promoting new artforms through digital art, we are working towards bringing in new artists that have never exhibited in formal institutions,” the Director shared.

PowerPlay is set to open at the National Gallery in Bulawayo before the end of the year. Exact dates to be confirmed.

APPOINTMENT OF MR RAPHAEL CHIKUKWA AS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

The Board of Trustees of the National Gallery of Zimbabwe is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Raphael Chikukwa as the Executive Director with effect from 9th of September 2020. He has served the National Gallery of Zimbabwe as its Chief Curator and Deputy Director for ten years. Raphael Chikukwa has played a key role in the development of the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, joining as Chief Curator of Contemporary Art in 2010. During this time, he has been instrumental in overseeing the installation of over ten exhibitions as well as developing the Gallery’s international reach and re-imagining its collection. In particular, he has been the founding curator of the Zimbabwe Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale in 2011 and has organized the country’s representation in 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2019. Chikukwa was also a founding staff member of the PUMA-funded Creative Africa Network from 2008 to 2009. He holds an MA in Curating Contemporary Design from Kingston University in London and was the recipient of the 2006-07 Chevening Scholarship and the American Centre Foundation Curatorial Research Grant in 2008. In 1997 he graduated with a Post Grad Certificate in Arts and Culture Management from the University of Witwatersrand South Africa.  Publications he has contributed to include Visions of Zimbabwe (2004); Mawonero/Umbono: Insights on Art in Zimbabwe (2016); and Kabbo Ka Muwala: Migration and Mobility in Contemporary Art (2017).

In his role as Substantive Executive Director, Mr Chikukwa will provide strategic leadership for the gallery, including academic direction and articulating a compelling vision for the Museum’s development. He will lead on the development and realisation of the Museum’s exhibitions program and will also foster the National Gallery of Zimbabwe’s relationship with the international institutional world.

Speaking about the role, Mr Chikukwa said: I am very grateful for being given this opportunity to head one of the great art institutions in Africa and to contribute to its visibility. This appointment is an opportunity to continue the work started by those that came before me. I am looking forward to this new path and working with artists across the continent and with other cultural institutions in Africa and around the globe”.

The Board of Trustees of the National Gallery of Zimbabwe Chairperson Dr Solomon Guramatunhu said: “It is good, could be more effective by acknowledging that Raphael is taking over from Doreen Sibanda, who retired after working tirelessly and diligently to successfully position the gallery under a very harsh economic environment. The Board of Trustees expresses its heartfelt gratitude to Doreen Sibanda, wishing the best in her post retirement plans.” Mr. Chikukwa takes the helm in transition from Acting Executive Directorial capacities, a period that has been mired by the COVID-19 pandemic, transforming the Gallery into a digitally connected hub of activity in the new order.

Contact:  Zvikomborero Mandangu | 263 024 704666/7 | info@nationalgallery.co.zw

WEBSITE: www.nationalgallery.co.zw

ADDRESS: 20 Julius Nyerere Way, Harare Zimbabwe

Revived aspirations through a revamped Gallery

By Emmanuel KaNdlovu

Whether you are walking down JMN Nkomo Street or Leopold Takawira Avenue, where these two intersect something is bound to catch your eye. The usually abuzz outer side of The Douslin House, home of the National Gallery in Bulawayo (NGB) is atypically empty. The only people around what has come to be the unspoken official meet up point are those dropping off from ZUPCOs at the adjacent bus stop. The usual denizens are probably locked down safely in their homes trying to maintain the new norm of social distancing.

At second glance, there is more to the scenario. The visibly freshly brightened walls, barricading tape enclosing the historical building, ladders and a handful of men at work, all clad in construction protective gear suggest a different story. The refurbishment of this historical monument is in full swing. This is just but a fraction of the enormous work going on inside the closed doors and with an even bigger significance to the Gallery staffers and affiliates.

The Technical Officer at the NGB, David Nyahanana, who is responsible for all maintenance works, praised the move to renovate saying the dilapidated state of the building was an eyesore, one he is thrilled to see being addressed before his nearing retirement.

“Having worked at the Gallery for 20 years, when I first got here, the building was in a better state, ten years down the line things started to deteriorate. The roofs started leaking, the ceilings were damaged and the paint on the walls started wearing out,” Nyahanana shared.

“When the current Director got here, I brought up the issue that the building was in serious need of a facelift and I am happy he has worked tirelessly to achieve this and now I am going to retire a happy man having seen the renovations materialise, a badge of honour in essence and a most welcome one at that, ” he added.

For one of the longest serving members, Stanley Matengwa, a pensioner who was with the NGB for 37 years and recently called back in to assist in the delicate process of framing artworks and painting, this is a development he long wished for when he was still part of the institution. His personal hopes and those he holds for the Gallery have been refreshed.

Matengwa said, “I started working at the Gallery when I was 28, I literally grew up here and the place has taught me a lot of valuable lessons. One of the treasures I walked away with is how I left as a sculptor even though I had no knowledge whatsoever of the art. This place really means a lot to me and to witness its transformation in this lifetime is a dream come true.”

He also revealed that once the renovations are done, the NGB will be well in place competing in the same standards as some international galleries he has seen on his travels.

Renowned visual artist and an affiliate of the NGB, Fisani Nkomo, expressed how the renovations are going to play a pivotal role in uplifting the spirits of not only the resident artists but more so of the art community at large. For him, the renovations go way beyond the physical improvement of the space but its content as well.

“My role was to assist the photographer to capture images of the art collections and so I was removing them from frames, especially those that were under glass, get them photographed and get them back in their frames. I then had a suggestion that while we are at it, let’s clean the artworks so they are also in a better state,” Nkomo said.

“To me, the art collection is a very important part of any Gallery because it is the core, it is what we look at when we talk about the place’s worth. It is then important to keep these pieces of heritage very safe as they bring out the past, the present and the future; they are a journey really, an art movement journey that outlines how and where we are today with contemporary art. I am in high spirits knowing the renovations have made it possible for the permanent collection to be preserved in an improved state,” he added.

On a recent tour of the premises, Regional Director of the Gallery Butholezwe Nyathi revealed the renovations are now at an advanced stage and are expected to be complete by October.

The makeover is courtesy of the Australian and the Switzerland Embassy who donated US$51,000 and US$50,000 respectively.

“The donation from Switzerland was not entirely for the renovations. They specifically supported the refurbishment of the visiting artists’ accommodation facility, the solar system, storage rails for the permanent collection and air conditioners. The rest of the developments were sponsored by Australia,” Nyathi shared.

Other developments include the ongoing floor sanding process at the Anglo-American and completed floors at the Marshal Barron galleries. The lighting system at the property has been upgraded to an LED lighting system for an improved quality and a more gratifying aesthetic appeal. The galleries have been furnished with sensor lights for energy saving purposes, all in line with a green energy system as 60% of the Gallery is now solar powered.

The small galleries have been touched up from ceiling to the floors. New tiles have been put in different parts of the building. New air conditioners have been installed at the John Knight Cinema and the Permanent Collection room while the fan at the Lecture Theatre has been replaced by an air conditioner to complement the new look of the room in a move to increase the value of the place, the Director noted.

There is a new dry wall, fireproof Ethnography Collection storage facility aimed at preserving the invaluable objects while the Permanent Collection room has been upgraded with a further six new holding rails that have expanded the facility’s capacity to hold more artworks. The two newly installed air conditioners in the space will go a long way in the conservation of the artworks as they require to be kept under regulated temperatures. The ceiling that was rotting away due to roof leakages and the roof itself that covers this area have been replaced.

A new stage adorns the sculpture garden/ courtyard. Events such as the high-flying Friday Late are to move from inside the galleries to the courtyard in preserving the quality of the newly refurbished floors. Food stalls during events such as this will now line up at the staff parking bays which have also had the roof replaced and new lights installed. The economic value of this space has been taken to a whole new level.

With digital arts fast taking centre stage in the world over, a Digital Arts Centre facility aimed at availing space for young creatives has been initiated. The space was used for storage prior the renovations. It has since been cleared and repurposed. Works here have included plastering the walls, tiling the floors and installing a ceiling. Once the area is furnished with tables, chairs and the Wi-Fi range extended, it will be all systems go.

The Accommodation facility for visiting artists has also been touched up with a new ceiling, painted walls, new tiles and improved ablution areas. It now makes for decent habitation.  

The renovation waste scattered in the courtyard is indicative of the amount of work that is going on at the NGB. Months of labour-intensive work are fast shaping up. The changes to the colossal building are becoming more and more pleasantly visible by day. It is a series of small things that have definitely made a whole lot of difference.

Nyathi revealed the lockdown has been a silver lining in the NGB clouds.

He said, “We have managed to carry out these renovations with no interference from the public and went on to clean artworks and rearrange them, something we wouldn’t have gotten a chance to do under normal circumstances.”

The Director also shared plans to have the bus stop near the Gallery entrance relocated as it takes away from the ambience associated with galleries. He revealed he has since engaged the city fathers on this matter.

Contact us on sabona@mweb.co.zw