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Look closer home for wall hangings

I have recently had the opportunity to visit many homes in the past few weeks, and a significant number in the prestigious suburbs of Harare and what has become apparent is that we make very little use of art in beautifying our homes, and this in a country where artistic works absolutely abound at every market place and on every street corner.

Home and Garden with Helen Devmac

It is sad indeed that we do not celebrate our culture in art works, art is an important expression of whom we are, a way of passing onto our children cultural traditions that we hold sacred.

In Shona tradition there are beautiful art forms which are so significantly cultural and yet can also be used to decorate our homes. look at the rukukwe [reed mat] with its intricate reeds all beautifully woven together, then there is the hari [clay pot] which can be polished or painted to a very high gloss; and what about the rusero [winnowing basket] and gourds? There is an astounding absence of cultural art forms in our homes.

All I have met with are stark bare walls or a small scattering of small pictures out of visual impact and focus, or calendars and calendars ad infinitum multi-coloured and glaringly inappropriate as art in these otherwise beautiful homes. So Zimbabweans: Why are we not drawn to our own artistic works?

I am certainly no fundi when it comes to the appreciation of art but I am mostly guided by my own instincts and know when a piece evokes some emotion in me, either nostalgia for things past, peace, sadness or quite simply joie de vivre.

Look at our streets and markets, they are jam packed with beautiful pieces all handmade from natural materials, there are the beautiful batik, basketry, paintings, pottery, stone sculpture weld art, floral bouquets; are you not inspired by the magnificence of it all? name it and we have it.

Perhaps the problem is quite simply where to hang and display this art work? Today we will talk about how and where we can display pictures.

We must remember that pictures are hung to beautify our homes, provide a visual display for our guests and family to admire and enjoy, therefore it is important to hang them where they can be seen and admired.

Pictures hung on pelmets do not have the same impact as those hung at eye level. Good places for pictures are the mantelpiece, staircase, entrance hall, the floor and then there are tables and book shelves, these are ideal places on which to display all manner of pictures from family groupings to landscapes.

While we want to be surrounded by happy memories of our children and grand-children, remember not to overdo the family pictures, where every available surface and wall is given to pictures of your children at every stage of their development.

Make good use of digital storage for some of those happy memories, it can be disconcerting for guests to have these displays of family faces starring at them from every angle, for more impact family pictures should be organised as a grouping and kept to a minimum.

When considering grouping pictures for your walls, you have to look not only at the art work, certain elements such as the frame, the size of the picture, colour and materials all contribute to having the right image for your walls. And while your pictures do not necessarily have to be matched, something must tie up the look. they must either be similar in style colour or material.

Look at the area to be covered and decide where the display will create the best visual impact for your guests and décor. Whatever pictures you decide to display they must in general be in keeping with the appearance and style of the room, pictures speak volumes, are you getting the picture?

To hang any kind of collection on a wall, precise measurements are needed; first lay it on the floor in exact dimensions as the wall space on which you intend to hang the pictures.

Make your measurements between frames equal and not too far apart.
Hanging pictures or displaying art work is about creating an eye-catching composition.

By simply leaning a picture on a table against a wall and then surrounding that picture with several objet’ s d’art of your choice, you will have created not only an interesting and stunning style for your home, but also a unique look. The same look can be achieved by leaning a picture on the floor against a wall, perpaps standing it on a colourful batik surrounded by a collection of glossy clay pots and gourds!

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