BY SHARON SIBINDI
NATIONAL Gallery of Zimbabwe (NGZ) in Bulawayo in partnership with the embassy of Switzerland last week held a week-long Resident Artist Retreat for 16 visual artists that was meant to broaden and sharpen their creativity at Khami Lodge in Bulawayo.
As part of the retreat that ended at the weekend, artists were supposed to make different art pieces under the climate change theme.
NGZ in Bulawayo director Butholezwe Nyathi said the retreat was aimed at creating alternative temporary work spaces for mainly their resident visual artists.
“If you work from a regular space, sometimes it restricts and stifles your creativity, but if you go to a different environment and you are brought together with other colleagues who are also visual artists, it creates that vibrant community of practice … that is exactly why we did this so that they stop from the regular works of art they have been producing,” he said.
“The artists spent seven nights producing works of art, doing presentations, and learning other important soft skills like speaking about their work. We thank the embassy of Switzerland for making this possible.”
Some of the visual artists who spoke to NewsDay Life & Style on the sidelines of the treat described it as an eye-opener.
Visual artist Danisile Ncube said one of his pieces Resilience Number 2, talk about the environment, geographically looking at land and most of the things that people do which have destroyed it.
Ncube said through the Resilience Number 2 piece, he was trying to make people rethink the way in which they take care of land.
“The work that I have been doing for the past 30 years concentrates much on issues concerning life. Life is an inspiration to me including my environment as I talk about environmental issues in my work and other social political issues too,” he said.
“I usually use recycled material like metal, but as for now I totally changed and got into experimenting like with Resilience Number 2, a piece concerning our environment. Our land has been destroyed, industries have spilt oil not only on land, but the precious water which is life to us and we have heard of people digging here and there just to find wealth in our land.”
Sculpture Sikhulile “Sku” Sibanda said she decided to experiment using paper and paint to broaden her knowledge as she worked on a piece titled The Mosaic of Pain, among others.
“I am a sculptor, but with this opportunity that we were given, I decided to experiment with paper and paint under the theme Climate Change. I am a feminist, someone who fights the patriarchy system so I thought of earth to work on a piece called The Mosaic of Pain,” she said.
“I thought let me use that (earth) looking at what she has gone through in order for us to come to a point where we are saying climate is changing, so this is the abuse she has gone through, she is like a survivor of abuse.” Nkosikhona Nkomo said the workshop enabled him to learn a lot especially from other artists as they shared ideas.
“What I did is totally different from what I have been doing in the studio and it’s good for me as an artist to practise something different to improve my skills. Some of the artworks I did are Mending and Ashes to Wishes,” he said.
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