Factors affecting the younger generation of artists usually have to do with financial resources, marketing of products as well as exhibition space among others.
Concerned about these issues, a group of Zimbabwean artists, working with France-based art critic and educator, Valerie Kabov, established a space to showcase their work and named it First Floor Gallery.
First Floor Gallery is designed to provide a much-needed opportunity for emerging visual artists to exhibit their work, develop skills, experiment and innovate without the pressure of fitting into market expectations.
Since its inception in 2010, First Floor Gallery has held local as well as international exhibitions that have allowed young and talented artists to showcase their talent.
Their first ever international art exhibition was at the Pave’ d’Orsay in France, where they held an exhibition entitled Harare-Paris Young, Contemporary and Zimbabwean in May 2011.
Artists who exhibited at the show include 2010 Nama winner in the Three Dimensional Visual Arts category, Zacharah Magasa, Moffat Takadiwa (who is also co-founder of the Gallery), Wycliffe Mundopa, Brian Banda and Terrence Musekiwa.
Artists from the gallery also added a new dimension to the Chimanimani Arts Festival last year when they held a fine art exhibition.
Recently, First Floor Gallery invited South African artist, Nico Phooko for a series of workshops with young artists. Phooko conducted painting workshops with the young artists and expressed satisfaction with the level of talent among the young Zimbabwean artists.
He also hailed the idea behind the creation of First Floor Gallery.
“The establishment of the gallery in itself is a success. It gives rare opportunities to upcoming artists as they get to network and share ideas,” said Phooko.
He urged Zimbabwean young artist to continue networking and forming associations as a way of establishing themselves on the local and international market.
“It is important for young artists to continue organising yourselves so that you have an organisation that stands for your interests and that helps you refine your talent,” he said.
First Floor administrative director, Marcus Gora said the gallery was dedicated to the development of young talent in the country.
He said: “We have been holding a series of workshops and we also provide a forum for discussion, interaction between artists from different disciplines and this we believe will also help in bridging the gap between the young artists and established ones.”