ARTISTES at Mvurwi Arts Centre in Mashonaland Province have been operating for close two years without ablution facilities.
The centre’s chairperson Tutani Mugabazi told The Standard Style on Tuesday that artistes were compelled to use distant toilets.
“We were given this piece of land by council two years ago. We have been trying to put in place infrastructure, but resources have been limited,” he said.
“However, we have managed to build a gazebo which we intend to turn into an office and we are mobilising resources to build toilets. Funds permitting, we would also want to erect shades where sculptors can work from.”
Mugabazi said the industry was struggling because of the country’s dying tourism industry.
“Most of our customers are tourists and if the country fails to attract tourists, it means our industry is also doomed. Government needs to revive the tourism industry, which is the only way to boost our business,” Mugabazi said.
There are 18 resident and 35 visiting artistes at Mvurwi Art Centre.
“If resident artistes sell their products the centre takes 10% of the sales while 25% is charged to visiting artistes. This money is used towards the development of the centre,” Mugabazi added.
He said artistes were forced to produce sculptures in large quantities because collectors who now constitute a large chunk of buyers want to buy at wholesale prices.
“We are no longer creative because most buyers want our products at wholesale prices, so at the end of the day we do mass production to meet the demands of these collectors,” Mugabazi said.
He said the centre had a potential to host 100 sculptors and plans were underway to bring in more artistes, especially the youths.
“We understand our catchment area consists of youths who are capable of making it big in this industry. We want to incorporate more and make this centre their source of income,” Mugabazi said.