Yeukai Karengezeka Arts Correspondent
The international five-day arts and culture exhibition programme dubbed “Belt and Road Afro-Sino Cultural Exchange” which was held at the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe exposed great visual art talent.
The event incorporated an arts exhibition, arts forum and launch of the Southern African Development Community Chapter of the Afro-Sino Cultural Exchange Association.
It had 120 artworks from China, Kenya, Seychelles, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe making it the largest exhibition in Zimbabwe in recent time.
Zimbabwe has over 50 artists who were participating including Calvin Chimutuwah, Mercy Moyo, Petros Kaseke, Chrispine Mutsadyanga, Munya Mungate and Mavis Tauzen.
Mavis Tauzen with one of her paintings
It was running under the theme “South Meeting the East: A Tale of Two Communities” and was aimed at creating opportunities for the artists from both the South and the East to network.
Chimutuwah hailed the programme saying it had benefited local artists in so many ways.
“This is a good initiative where us as artists can cross-pollinate and share ideas as we see how best we can improve our art. We have learnt a lot of things through this exchange programme.
“I was also privileged to be part of the artists who went to exhibit in Beijing China last year in October at the first edition of the exhibition,” he said.
Speaking at the official opening held of the programme , Afro-Sino Cultural Exchange Association chairman Mr Franklin Asira said the idea is to unite Africans and the Chinese through art and culture.
“This programme is China’s call to Africa for the development of African continent and we do our very best to bring together people of China and Africa.
“The beauty of culture is that it is a universal language same as fine art and visual art. We thank Government of Zimbabwe for all the support that you have given us,” he said.
In a speech read on his behalf by principal director in the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Dr Benson Dube, ICT minister Kazembe Kazembe who was meant to be guest of honour at the event, hailed the exchange programme.
“Zimbabwean Government is elated by the relationship and commitment it continues to share with the Chinese Government which keeps growing from strength to strength.
“As the acting minister I gratefully commend them for this vision and effort of networking our artists as the Belt and Road Afro-Sino Art Exhibition is a brainchild of the Afro-Sino Cultural Exchange Association headquartered in Kenya,” he said.
The event was also graced by Chinese ambassador to Zimbabwe Gio Shaochum, NACZ director Nicholas Moyo, NAGZ director Dorothy Sibanda and many other artistes.
Afro-Sino Cultural Exchange Association, Embassy of China, Jacaranda Culture and Media Corporation and Zimbabwe Chinese Business Association also partnered with NACZ to host the event.