Thatha is a developing series brand of exhibitions by the National Gallery in Bulawayo. The philosophy of these exhibitions is construed from a social focus and engages various stakeholders including visual artists and the general public to present and highlight the aesthetics element of the watch and clock to the community. The first Thatha series tiled; Thatha Camera an exhibition of black & white photographs from the townships was held in 1999, followed by Thatha Bhasikili an exhibition of decorated/adorned bicycles was held in 2001 including; Thatha Nwele, Thatha Vuvuzela and Thatha Radio .
“Thatha Watshi” (take a watch) seems limitless, irreplaceable because time makes watches and clocks nostalgic; each one transcends our immediate time and experience. In this part of Africa, presumably the watch arrived as colonial paraphernalia, along with the gun and the Bible. The watch altered reality, introducing new impulses and confessions, cataloguing the converted and the hanged. Africa’s encounter with the watch coincides with the gradual exploration and maturity of the medium. After the moment of disbelief, when the watch is viewed suspiciously as stealing the soul of the individual. In this exhibition visual artists have submitted art works that reflect and articulates the watch/clock from various perspectives.
Objectives of the Thatha series
• To encourage and stimulate participation and interest in works of visual art to the general public.
• To break down barriers between art and its audience by providing an enabling environment for dialogue, interaction, growth, development and intimacy.
• To promote art interaction between society and the custodians of the heritage.
• To promote art appreciation for the community through greater proficiency in product development and art exploration.
The National Gallery is a central focus for cultural activity in Zimbabwe; Bulawayo is the country’s second largest city with a brave history, and commanding landscapes such as the Matopo Hills and the Khami Ruins. The Thatha series is the gallery’s approach is to expose artists, gallery staff and the immediate community to all forms of artistic endeavours. To emphasise the role of art in the development and need for self-expression, to motivate our sense of creativity, the involvement of the community is evidence of the gallery’s importance and presence.