Forex Woes Hit Visual Artists

By Kundai Marunya

Lack of foreign currency coupled with low domestic sales have greatly impacted on the work of local visual artists who depend largely on imported materials for their work.

The artists, who creatively document tradition, culture and history in their works, have over the years been relying on recycled and imported materials from South Africa.

Speaking at the opening of the exhibition titled “Engaging 45th Year” held over the weekend, Gallery Delta director Derek Huggins, said many artists were now living in poverty.

“Many artists, both young and old, are poverty stricken and without artistic materials. Its difficult to get the materials because of the difficult economic circumstances we are in. Its crippling the arts industry,” he said.

Huggins noted that even the gallery was struggling to stay afloat surviving mostly on donor support and sponsorship.

He said the economic conditions have forced many artists to migrate to other countries with the majority who managed to penetrate into the international markets ditching local galleries.

“The migration of artists as economic refugees to South Africa and elsewhere continues. Consequently, with a poor local market, the loss of artists and the paucity of sales leaves Gallery Delta’s future in jeopardy,” said Huggins.

Gallery Delta celebrated its 45 years of existence with an exhibition that encompassed a variety of paintings, graphics, sculpture and ceramics from 35 artists.

The exhibition was a depiction of how Zimbabwean art has grown over the years while superimposing artists who came through Gallery Delta.

European Union head of delegation to Zimbabwe Mr Timo Olkkonen, who opened the exhibition, said there was need for dialogue through art.

“For 44 years, you have managed to create a space for Zimbabwean artists to express themselves and develop their talents to world class standards,” he said.

“Thanks to you and thanks to many outstanding artists you have promoted.

“There is a much needed dialogue through extraordinary artifacts such as the ones in this collection, dialogue with our past, present and future and dialogue with our emotions as individuals and as a nation.”

Gallery Delta is one of the pioneering privately owned contemporary galleries which has been in existence since 1975.

Some of the artistes who came through Gallery Delta are Greg Shaw, Tafadzwa Gwetai, Evans Tinashe, George Churu, Kudakwashe Dongo and Grace Nyahangare among others.

Source : The Herald

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