By Kennedy Nyavaya
In a belated International Women’s Day commemoration, the National Art Gallery of Zimbabwe (NGZ) officially opened the second edition of its annual all-female art display, themed Balance for Better: Redesigning a Woman’s Space, on Thursday.
The exhibition, which features 29 artists this year, is an effort to examine the gender factor in society, questioning imbalances and was co-curated by NGZ director Doreen Sibanda and Valerie Sithole.
“The show is about building a more gender-balanced world where everyone has a role to play because it focuses on the societal gender balance as well as the poise required in a woman’s life for her to evenly distribute her multiple roles,” reads a statement from the gallery.
A wide range of artwork forms, including sculpture, fine art and paintings, are on show courtesy of established as well as emerging artists, including Ennica Mukomberanwa,
Grace Nyahangare and Portia Zvavahera, among others.
In an opening speech, Sibanda said the platform was created to expose works by women to extensive audiences at a time when many were making “tentative steps into the art world”.
“We often feel that some of the women artists do not come forward as strongly as they could or should and we find that this yearly exhibition does give them an opportunity and a lot of women are coming forward,” said Sibanda.
The event’s guest of honour, author, Virginia Phiri, also weighed in describing the exhibition as “thoughts, emotions and ideas condensed into works of art” that could help initiate equality in society.
“It is exhibitions such as this one that will liberate and inspire more women and girls to take up art as a profession. From time immemorial, women have been known to be great artists and are still,” said Phiri.
“It is unfortunate that at some point women artists were relegated to housekeepers and baby minders, so it is pleasing to note that women artists have reclaimed their status and freedom to create as reflected at this exhibition.”