National Arts Gallery of Zimbabwe chief curator Raphael Chikukwa has hailed the widely contested new curriculum, which was introduced by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education at the beginning of the year.
By Kennedy Nyavaya
Largely attributed to former Primary and Secondary Education minister Lazarus Dokora, the curriculum is a leap towards a technical learning system including art, engineering, mathematics and physical science, among others.
Speaking to The Standard Style on the side-lines of the unveiling of the Zimbabwe Annual Exhibition last week, Chikukwa said serious focus on art at lower learning levels would help influence emerging talent in the discipline.
“Many people are criticising the new curriculum, but I would like to congratulate the government for that curriculum because it will get all the young people in the townships, rural areas and the farming areas to do art as a subject,” he said.
Chikukwa said the curriculum will give art the integrity it deserved and help in nurturing upcoming talent in line with the vision of the National Arts Gallery of Zimbabwe.
“When we grew up doing art, we were belittled. As the National Arts Gallery of Zimbabwe, our motto next year is Taking art to the people, which we are going to do through exhibiting in the townships and rural areas,” he said.
“We have a pavilion, which was donated by the European Union that is going to tour the country; that is how we are going to empower and really support the educational curriculum that has been endorsed by our government.”
In celebrating 60 years this year, the National Arts Gallery of Zimbabwe published the first ever Zimbabwe art book and hosted the second edition of the International Conference of African Cultures after 55 years.
“That on its own is a major milestone because the audience and international guests that came were more than we had anticipated because there had never been a platform for discussion. Most of the discussions about African art are always happening from outside the African soil,” said Chikukwa.
In Zimbabwe, most artists are stereotyped and viewed in lesser light than those who excel in academics.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Annual Exhibition, which was opened last Thursday has over 150 works in showcase.
Running under the theme Form and Colour, Arts, Sports and Recreation minister Kazembe Kazembe encouraged artists to consistently improve their niche while pledging his ministry’s support.
“My ministry’s mandate is, among other things, to facilitate the cultural and creative industry to become a vibrant industry and that the arts become an effective tool to enhance social integration and empowerment,” he said