In the past, women were not much involved in such art as sculpture. Agness Mupariwa — a female sculptor at Chitungwiza Arts Centre — is one of the women who have urged other women to overcome gender barriers and realise their dreams in the art industry.
BY TAWANDA TADERERA
Mupariwa says women should not allow challenges to kill their careers.
“It hasn’t been a smooth and stress-free journey, but I’m so grateful for every obstacle that came my way because it made me who I am today,” she said.
“I’m grateful to every individual who has criticised me. Without criticism, I would never have come out of my artificial comfort zone,” she said.
“The real world is very different. It’s exciting, but there will be times when you’ll be pushed to realise your full potential.”
Mupariwa, who is married and has five children, said she has achieved a lot since she started making sculptures at Chitungwiza Arts Centre in 1997.
“I have achieved so much in my career. I now know that if I work on something, it should be bought and this drives me to be successful,” she said.
She said lack of confidence was hindering women in all aspects of life.
“There was a time when I would craft a piece, but I was not confident enough to show it to the clients. Instead, I would conceal it behind other people’s work. Surprisingly, my work would be bought by foreigners, especially the Americans and the Koreans,” she said.
She said initially, she saw art as a hobby, but as time went on she realised that it was a business and a source of income.
“I can look after my family through art because every piece that I sell guarantees me enough money for my family,” she said.
Mupariwa said she derived her inspiration from her young sister, who used to polish finished products for artists at Chitungwiza Arts Centre. At first it was just an interest, but she decided to take the bull by its horns and joined the male-dominated world of sculpturing.
Today, Mupariwa is one of a handful of female artists who have broken the patriarchal job distinctions and proved that women are equal to men and can do anything that men can.
“It was not easy for me to be in a male-dominated field. As you know, the patriarchal nature of our society, but I had to fit in,” she said.
The award-winning sculptor said she was motivated by Tonderai Sowa, who won the second prize for the Best Sculptor at the Chitungwiza Arts Centre in 2013.
“Sowa helped me a lot in making perfect pieces and everyone in life needs help in their work. He stood by me until I became professional,” she said.
However, Mupariwa said workshops and exhibitions were very important as they exposed them to different people.
“Workshops and expos are essential to us because we are taught how to do business, especially the area of marketing,” she said.
Mupariwa has participated in a number of exhibitions, including the Hanover Expo in Germany in 2000 and the In Praise of Women in Harare between 2004 and 2006.
She has been participating at the Chitungwiza Arts Centre Exhibition since 2005.