As the curtain comes down on the year 2011, the visual arts sector enjoyed success as a number of local artists lifted Zimbabweâ€™s flag high at various exhibitions, locally and beyond the countryâ€™s borders.
2011 managed to build sustainable institutional capacity for a number of artists in the visual arts genre. Exhibitions where Zimbabwean artists took part created and fostered an interface with other world class artists as well as enhancing the tourism sector.
Awareness and appreciation of the visual arts grew noticeably in 2011; this could be largely attributed to the number of exhibitions and workshops held locally and internationally where local artists participated thereby lifting the countryâ€™s flag high.
Notable names to exhibit their work locally were Calvin Dondo, Misheck Masamvu Tapfuma Gutsa and Berry Bickle who showcased their artworks to international acclaim.
The communications outreach programme carried out at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe saw many cultural events, art exhibitions and film previews being hosted by the gallery – fulfilling the objective to make art more accessible to the public.
This commendable public education strategy ensured greater visibility of the visual arts.
In 2011 the establishment of the Art Zone was to address and articulate ideas about the profession that bolster the viability and human potential of the visual arts.
The year also saw various stakeholders coming under the theme “Re-Branding Zimbabwe through Art”, with the focus to boost cultural tourism through the visual arts being on the centre stage.
The abuse of intellectual property and copyright law for the visual arts was also highlighted.
The protection of the artists from piracy was brought to light mid-year by the Anti Piracy Organisation of Zimbabwe together with Trade Union for Music Arts Industry (TUMAI).
There was also emphasis for proper legislation to be tabled and enforced.
The use of indigenous languages in the creation and production of visual art was also highlighted.
The highlight of the year and historic milestone was Zimbabwe’s entry in the Venice Biennale, from May to November, 2011.
The entry to the Biennale lifted the countryâ€™s flag high and saw four artists participating.
An Artist’s Charter to safeguard the interests of artists was launched in Harare in November and was endorsed by the Minister of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture, Senator David Coltart.
However, it was noted that the Government and the private sectors should prioritize the development of the arts, cultural infrastructure and art education.
The year 2012 promises to be the year of reawakening of Zimbabwean visual arts in the international arts world.