FOR 11-year-old Alidy Muntanga harmony is fair play in a soccer match where players neither engage in rough tackles nor cause physical harm to opponents. Nine year old Talent Gwarazimba sees it as a man dropping a gun in a bin and waving joyously with the othe
r. Nolwazi Magutshwa, a grade six pupil shows a picture of three individuals holding hands.
The images of harmony are the products of a four-day workshop conducted by the Bulawayo Art Gallery for 120 children aged between four and 12 years in Bulawayo’s Mpopoma suburb last month.
“I am excited.
This is a first. We plan to have more of such seminars during school holidays throughout Bulawayo,” says Voti Thebe, acting director of the Bulawayo Art Gallery.
“They are the future. The gallery will continue such programmes in future where we will explore other themes,” he says.
The US Embassy provided art supplies for 300 children while the gallery provided the expertise and human capacity to enhance the skills of the children through five of the gallery’s finest resident artists.
Resident artists spoke highly of the potential among the children.
Stella Ndebele, who specialises in semi- abstract paintings, says the children had a different view of art prior to the workshop.
“We introduced the children to art using crayons, paint brushes, paints, papers and pencils. All this is new to the kids. They had a different view of art. Some think of art as a drawing of a car or a house,” Ndebele said.
“Art is broad and we also make them appreciate that they can live through art”, she added.
Fisani Nkomo, another resident artist, also enjoyed the experience of working with children but says the facilitators had to overcome challenges working with children from diverse backgrounds.
“On the first day the children get to know each other. We try to create a spirit of freedom to allow them to express their ideas without fear,” says Nkomo.
“The second day involved guiding them through the use of pencil and other tools of the trade. They also pick up the theme of harmony. They have different versions of what they perceive to represent harmony,” says Nkomo.
The inaugural theme — harmony — chosen for the workshop is drawn from the slogan “harmony for humanity” — a name given to concerts celebrating Daniel Pearl’s life and legacy by the Daniel Pearl Foundation. Inspired by his life, the festival uses the universal language of music and art to diminish hatred, instill respect for differences and inspire ‘harmony’ for humanity.
Pearl was a correspondent for the Wall Street Journal. He was kidnapped on January 23 2002 on his way to an interview with a so-called terrorist leader in Karachi, Pakistan.
Pleas for his release were made by his editor and his wife, who was pregnant with their son Adam. — Own Correspondent.