BY TAFADZWA KACHIKO
NATIONAL Gallery of Zimbabwe executive director Doreen Sibanda and her deputy Raphael Chikukwa have been invited to participate at the Conversations programme at this year’s Art Basel set for March 28 to 31 in Hong Kong.
Art Basel is a privately-owned and managed international art fair staged annually in Basel, Switzerland; Miami Beach, Florida and Hong Kong to sell established and emerging artists.
While it provides a platform for galleries to showcase their work to buyers, it also attracts a large international audience of art spectators and students.
As Zimbabwean representatives, Sibanda and Chikukwa are expected to speak at Conversations programmes to be moderated by Hans Ulrich Obrlst and Mi You on March 28 and 29, respectively.
Chikukwa who is scheduled to partake in a discussion titled Geographies of the Imagination Exhibition Making and Research Methods said it was a privilege to represent the gallery at this event.
“This is an opportunity for Africans to speak for themselves. We can only ‘dis-other’ by speaking for ourselves. I will talk about our first exhibition in 2011 at the Venice Biennale titled Seeing Ourselves. We wanted to demystify the thinking that Africa was just a nation. We are tired of being seen from other people’s perspective. We cannot remain on the periphery,” he said.
“Sibanda will participate at a round table on leadership titled Institutional Practice Is Creative Work. Under my panel we will discuss about curating and interrogate issues of representation.”
Chikukwa said he would also use the platform to speak about the challenges faced by galleries in Africa.
“Major challenges of institutions in Africa include lack of funding. This is the challenge many institutions like NGZ continue to face. Running an institution like this needs a global standard. We have, however, been able to achieve a lot through the support of the corporate world, diplomatic community and government. The government has been supporting our Pavillion since 2011,” he said.
This year’s seventh edition of the art showcase would feature modern and contemporary works of the highest quality by artists presented by 242 leading galleries across Asia, Europe, North and South America, the Middle East and Africa.