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Gareth Nyandoro, scoops Financial Times/OppenheimerFunds Emerging Voices 2016 Art Award



Gareth Nyandoro won the $40,000 prize in the art category, at the second Financial Times/OppenheimerFunds Emerging Voices awards held in New York on Monday.

The FT/OppenheimerFunds Emerging Voices awards recognise the most inventive and creative fiction writers, film-makers and artists from emerging market countries in Africa and the Middle East, Asia-Pacific and Latin America or the Caribbean

The awards attracted nearly 800 entries, with the winners selected by judging panels that included Elif Shafak, the Turkish writer and commentator, Iwona Blazwick, director of London’s Whitechapel Gallery, and Mira Nair, the Indian director of Salaam Mumbai! and, most recently, Queen of Katwe.

Lionel Barber, Financial Times (FT) editor, said: “The Emerging Voices awards reflect both the FT’s deep interest in the newly emerging economies and our longstanding commitment to encouraging and reporting on the arts. With these awards, we aim to recognise outstanding talent in these countries, but also to bring their work to the attention of our readers and a wider public.”


A printmaker by education, Nyandoro developed his distinctive style in part as a result of a scarcity of materials. “When I majored we didn’t have conventional materials for etching, linocut or silk-screen printing, so we were just improvising, sometimes cutting into paper to make prints,” he says. “But when I was experimenting, I realised the plate I was using to print was actually a finished piece of work itself.”

This makeshift approach led to the development of an expressive style of printmaking, incorporating elements of drawing, etching, painting, weaving and collage. Dubbing his technique “Kuchekacheka” — kucheka means to cut in Shona — Nyandoro slices paper cutouts with blades, painstakingly scratching out an image and stripping away layers of paper, the scraps of which are later incorporated back into the painting. He then fills the incisions with ink that bleeds across the canvas. The process allows the artist to create images that look like etchings but can be made on a larger scale. “I try to connect my work to its surroundings. It becomes part of the environment,” he says.

Zimbabwe, Harare, Mbare market
Market forces: Gareth Nyandoro’s work evokes humdrum human interactions amid the frenetic nature of Harare’s street life



Born in 1982, Nyandoro graduated with a diploma in fine art from Harare Polytechnic in 2003 and completed his studies in creative art and design at Chinhoyi University of Technology, Zimbabwe, in 2008. With a residency at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam and a sold-out solo show at Tiwani Contemporary already under his belt, his name is becoming well known. He recently represented Zimbabwe at the 56th Venice Bienniale and is busy preparing a solo show at Cape Town’s SMAC gallery.

Source: Financial Times

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Go well Peter Birch


Peter Birch, who has died aged 85, was for over two generations the foremost developer of artistic talent in Zimbabwe. Along with Dulce Wesseik, he established an art school that he later moved to what had been the Acropole Hotel, a sprawling residence on the edge of Greenwood Park that had belonged to one of the then Salisbury’s (now Harare) early mayors.Here, at what was to double as his home, he enthusiastically gave classes to toddlers right through to elderly amateurs while telling stories about his early life. Technically strong on colour, composition and figures, Birch also taught at various schools across the capital, painted sets at the local theatres, wrote an art column, and had a TV programme. He was a prolific artist in his own right – there are few boardrooms that do not hang one of his paintings or portraits of their former directors.
The Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland was at its zenith when Birch arrived in January 1959, and Salisbury was an exciting place to be.
The Rhodes National Gallery, under the stewardship of Frank McEwen, had opened only 18 months previously and the first exhibition saw the largest art collection to ever cross the Equator – five Viscounts full of art had left various European capitals for the opening display in July 1957. Not quite 70 years old, Salisbury had spawned an avant-garde art scene and Birch was to be a founding member of “The Contemporaries”, an active group of artists whose works have found their way around the world. With Adrian Stanley at REPS, the local theatrical world was as busy and equally experimental.
By his own declaration, Birch was a hopeless romantic who longed for wide open spaces and Rhodesia could not have been more conducive.
Dark and handsome, he wanted to ride a horse into the archway of his castle, which he was to build in on one of the hills overlooking the Umwinsi River. But he was much less the swashbuckling romantic, and throughout his life, more prone to unrequited love. Harold Peter James Birch was born on October 12, 1931 on a council estate in Dartford, Kent.
He was one of six children born to Charlotte and Jack Birch, who had been gassed in the trenches in Ypres.
Encouraged by his art teacher George Allen, Birch went on attend the Sidcup School of Art in Kent in the five years after the war, where “his real education began”.
Birch admired the style of the English Romanticist landscape painter J.M.W. Turner and to a lesser extent, his great adversary John Constable. To Birch, Turner was “way ahead of his time”.
On leaving Sidcup, he undertook two years of National Service, initially in Northern Ireland, before he was posted to North Africa, where he got his first taste of the continent’s sunny skies.
Back in the UK in 1953, Birch attended the Royal College of Art in South Kensington where, he “learned nothing about art and progressed not one iota”.
The philosophy of the school was that “great artists are self taught and you just got on with your work. His college tutor John Minton took his students around the pubs introducing to them artists, including Lucien Freud and Francis Bacon, as well as Dylan Thomas.
On graduating, Birch taught at a secondary school in Essex, but was desperate to escape dreary postwar Britain.
Being accepted as an art teacher at the soon to be opened Lord Malvern High School, he arrived in Salisbury in early 1959 and took up residence with other immigrants at the Cranborne Hostel.
In the summer holidays of 1961, he decided he would climb Kilimanjaro. Returning from successfully climbing Africa’s tallest peak and signing his name at the summit – the only one in his party to have managed the feat – he returned to Cranborne Hostel to see other residents sitting with “an 18½ year old beauty”.
He was immediately transfixed by Joyce Wessellmann, who he courted for four years before they married, discovering she was a talented “first class potter”.
Dulce Wesseik, who was part of The Contemporaries, had an idea to form an art school. They started in the Pelhams building on Robert Mugabe Road but after acquiring the Acropole, he moved the art school to his residence in the mid-1960s, where it has remained to this day. Birch taught at Prince Edward and Arundel and was also a columnist for The Herald and had a popular programme on television

“Birch on Art”, which propelled him to minor celebrity status.
He joined the Salisbury Sailing Club and painted sets for the thriving amateur acting group REPS, which had just built a new theatre at Second St Ext. The 1970s were wild years for Birch, who indulged in heavy drinking and carousing with fellow artist Robert Paul. “With all the boozing and partying, I don’t know how we managed it. Life was hectic, exciting and very active. But most of all it was creative.”
In 1982, he found a small holding in the Umwinsidale valley – River Bend and “fell in love with the potential”. Over the next two years, Birch planned the construction of his castle and got down to “serious work and saving”.
The art school was going “very well”. “By this time, little girls who used to come to me on Saturday morning were now bringing their kids.” Using local stone, the castle was constructed over three years. As had always been his dream, he was able to ride on a horse into the entrance archway of his castle and dismount. “I took up horse riding at 50 and gave it up at 70.”
Birch’s final paintings were a return to the style he admired so much in Turner and the way he dealt with colour, light and atmosphere. “That was the one thing I was good at.” Birch was diagnosed with cancer in 2008 and successfully underwent treatment only for the condition to resurface this year. Joyce died in August 2013 after a short battle with cancer.
By his request, there was no memorial. Birch is survived by his daughter Ashley, herself an artist, and two grandchildren.
Harold Peter James Birch, artist, teacher and story teller. Born October 12, 1931. Died September 18, 2016

 Obituary by Jonathan Waters
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Metal sculptor Arthur Azevedo exhibits new stlye

'Bull' by Arthur Azevedo

Sifting through the pages of catalogues from yesteryear, one is most likely to come across the name of an artist of great repute. This artist is Arthur Azevedo; a force that has exhibited here in Zimbabwe and abroad, with his stalwart style of metal sculpture being identifiable for its minimal use of material and maximisation of anatomy being the definitive basis for Picasso’s summation of the art form; “Sculpture is the art of intelligence”

An exhibition entitled “Perspective” is now underway at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe featuring four superlative works housed in the Permanent Collection. The showcase serves as a retrospective focusing on one of Zimbabwe’s most luminary sculptors and based on the artist’s long and illustrious career. Perspective pays tribute to his extraordinary composition, celebrating the visual power and intellectual precision of his work. The sculptures on display have been collected by the National Gallery of Zimbabwe from the period ranging 1964 to 1991.

Azevedo is one of Zimbabwe’s most important and outstanding master sculptors in metal and the pioneer modernist in the movement in Zimbabwe.

He is attributed with founding the scrap metal sculpture movement in advancing the style avant-garde. Notably, Azavedo’s works were prominently exposed at the National Gallery’s now defunct annual Weld Art exhibitions, wherein throughout the seventies and eighties, a large number of artist embraced this technique widely for its easily accessible and highly available material.

The fact that there was an exhibition wholly dedicated to metal sculpture is astounding and expresses the importance of the technique. Arthur Azevedo naturally scooped general first prizes at these Scrap Iron exhibitions which were renamed 1979 Weld Art in 1979. This vehicle was held biannually until 1989. From 1989, an award was incorporated in the prestigious annual Zimbabwe Heritage exhibition.

This exhibition looks at the past to gain a perspective on the present by surveying Azevedo’s full span of achievements which includes several other works in public and private collections.

His work is highly fluid and minimal, capturing the essence of his subject matter through careful assemblage and joinery of lengths and chunks of metal. For every sculpture, Azevedo has a sketch which he feels is a chief ingredient for producing the artwork. “It (the sketch) clears the mind, and is the vehicle by which the artist can explore forms before shaping them with confidence” said Azavedo.

The exhibition presents such key sculptures as the “Dog” and the “Bishop” which are indubitably Azevedo’s best known works.

The artist’s rich and expansive practice is represented by the type of material used in his work. The exhibition fills the Foyer Precinct which is a spacious and welcoming zone to the Gallery’s family of art lovers.

Azevedo was born in 1935 and trained as a priest between 1950 and 1954. He later trained as a teacher at St Augustine College, Cape Town, and then returned to Harare to teach at St Louis Mountbatten School.

In 1956 he went to Rome with the intention of becoming a Roman Catholic priest and for six years he studied philosophy and theology at the Pontifical Urban University ‘de Propaganda Fide’.

His interest in art, at that time, was confined to painting and for a short period he studied under Gustovo Solimene, a painter with leanings towards the Neopolitan School.

During his vacations he roamed and painted in the Castelli Romani and Alban Hills region.

Returning to Zimbabwe in 1962, having abandoned his intention of becoming a priest, he settled in Harare and took up teaching at St John’s School, where he continues to teach today. His interest in sculpture began in 1963 as a result of his dissatisfaction and lack of fulfilment as a painter.

Scrap and found iron and steel were chosen mostly by chance and soon became his dominant medium. He developed his style and techniques in metal sculpture alone.

He has exhibited extensively in Zimbabwe and beyond the borders.

He won several awards from the prestigious annual art exhibitions held by the National Gallery of Zimbabwe.

 Source: The Herald
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Chataira’s unrecognised talent


Many people are familiar with the term “starving artist.” This stereotype of impoverished artists struggling to get by has been true throughout much of history.

Fine art painters and metal sculptors in particular, lead this poverty-stricken crop of artists.

Artists, writers and musicians can all fall into this group, which is robbed of the credit they deserve for their genius.

Mbare-born Raymond Chataira, a metal sculptor, has never enjoyed the glitz and glamour of showbiz life, despite his great works of art.

Speaking to The Standard Style on Wednesday, Chataira spoke about how “middlemen” in the arts sector were reaping where they did not sow.

“We are facing a big challenge whereby ‘clients’ buy works of art from us in bulk and they re-sell these products at high prices and claiming they are the artists,” he said.

Chataira is the brains behind the metal sculptures now found at most Trek service stations.

“Trek company has become one of my biggest clients who buy metal sculptures for their service stations,” he said.
He said the fuel company was working as his “advertising agent”, displaying his work.

“Another challenge is lack of land to work from. You know Mbare [where he works from] is always associated with societal ills, so it is difficult for clients to trust you and seal a business deal with you,” he said.

Chataira started art at a tender age when he was in primary school. He would use clay to mould fighting bulls until a time he fell in love with metal sculpture.

He said he was inspired by Adam Madebe — who has a number of sculptures which include a monumental set of three workers displayed at Construction House in Harare which was erected in 1992.

In 2004, Chataira tried painting as a pastime after completing school and a year later, he went to Chinembiri Arts Centre in Mbare to do a welding course.

“I started by doing small birds from scrap metal up until 2007 when I started crafting big animals. My first big animal was an elephant, which was exported to South Africa,” he said.

He said his second piece was bought by former Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono, adding that Ignatius Chombo’s wife was also his regular client.

Even though many prominent people, including Cabinet ministers, have bought Chataira’s sculptures, none has shown willingness to assist him.

“There are certain people who come to you and promise that they will help you and after that, you will never hear from them again,” he said.

Artists have a passion for something that can make a difference in people’s lives and some of them do their work with passion.

“When we craft our work, we make it out of feelings. When I feel like I want to work on an eland, I work on that. Even when there are orders from clients, I have to put them aside,” he said.

However, he said many artists like him were failing to get opportunities to showcase their work at exhibitions of a higher magnitude. He said their work place — Mbare — was not doing them any good because very few people visited the place.

“Plastic is not the only material that can be recycled, even metal can be recycled. For example, scrap metal from cars can be turned into magnificient pieces of art,” he said.

“I haven’t achieved what I want in life because of the economic hardships in Zimbabwe. I might produce a fine sculpture, but the price which people want to pay for it is too little.

“Art takes a long way in achieving your goal. At first when I was directed to make a lion I said I was not able to make it, but as time went on I was able to make anything.”

Chataira makes all types of animals ranging from elephants, antelopes, giraffes, rhinos, wild dogs and cheetahs, among others.

Source: The Standard

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Zimbabwean art proves popular at FNB Jo’burg Art Fair


The FNB Johannesburg Art Fair held last week is one of Africa’s biggest contemporary art fairs and Zimbabwe is always represented at the fair. In previous years the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, via its Chief Curator Raphael Chikukwa, has been invited for the talks programme.


At this year’s fair, booth number 73 proved popular as hundreds of people from all walks of life chose to pause and appreciate the Zimbabwean presence. The booth had a minimal layout showcasing three works by veteran artist Chikonzero Chazunguza. This exhibition was titled, Seuswa/Akin to Grass.

Chikonzero Chazunguza (right) in discussion with visitors to his art work
Chikonzero Chazunguza (right) in discussion with visitors to his art work

For one art enthusiast from Cape Town, the Zimbabwe booth made a profound impression: “This is the best booth I have seen so far, it is so touching. It reminds me of what I saw when I visited Robben Island. It reminds me of my history as a Xhosa.”

For an elderly couple from Europe, the Zimbabwe booth was a reminder of so many good memories of the country.

“Your booth makes us want to visit again,” said the elderly couple.

One of the visitors who fought back tears, observed: “It is so touching, it is so real and urgent.”

Every visitor left with a different interpretation of the work. A group of local school children debated about whether or not the work had undertones of race relations. Such pertinent questions for young people in South Africa, weeks after debates about hair, language and money in their school systems blew up on social media.

Three academics agreed that the Zimbabwean work at the art fair was meant to encourage Africans to document and celebrate unsung heroes from recent history. Later, a couple of writers saw the work as a provocation for people to unite. Chazunguza’s work consisted of two large silk screen prints and a two-screen video/performance piece. For the prints, the artist took archival images from the Herero Genocide that took place in Namibia between 1904 and 1907, as well as Ndebele leaders from the uprising which was one of the first forms of protest in the late 1890s again colonialism.

Within the video work, the artist performed. One saw his bare feet walking on a carpet of brown and white slices of bread. This was juxtaposed with his black silhouette being immersed in a makeshift throne of maize meal. The video work is titled, Tigere Muhupfu which means we are sitting pretty.

Chazunguza has exhibited on many international platforms, including at the Zimbabwe Booth at the 2015 Venice Biennale. He is the founder of Dzimbanhete Arts Interactions, a platform for local and international cultural collaborations and a space where artists are encouraged to tap into their inner roots for creativity. Most likely, his visibility and presence at the FNB Jo’burg Art Fair will birth many more opportunities for collaborations, exhibitions and exchanges.

Other Zimbabwean spaces present at the fair included Village Unhu, which exhibited for the second time in a row.

Other art spaces participating included The First Floor Gallery. Several South African and a British gallery proudly displayed Zimbabwean artists including Masimba Hwati, Virginia Chihota, Helen Teede, Moffart Takadiwa, Misheck Masamvu and Kudzanai Chiurai.

Helen Teede (center) in discussion with visitors to the First Floor Gallery Zimbabwe Booth
Helen Teede (right) in discussion with visitors to the First Floor Gallery Zimbabwe Booth

With the global art market gaze returning to Africa, this art fair attracts auction houses, dealers, renowned collectors, curators and creatives from all over the world.

The fair consisted of 90 exhibitions by galleries from 12 different countries and ran from September 9, 2016 to September 11, 2016.

These exhibitions were subdivided into Contemporary and Modern Art, Special Projects, Gallery Solo Projects, Limited Editions and Art Platforms.

Mandla Sibeko Co-Director of the art fair explained: “We are very clear on our Agenda; we are positioning the Fair as Pan-African. We want as many Africans to support this platform every year”.

As an international art fair, the FNB Jo’burg Art Fair focused on contemporary art from the African continent and the Diaspora.

FNB has always been passionate about art because it recognises that artistic expression involves creativity and imagination — both key drivers of innovation.

The annual FNB Jo’burg Art Fair provides a platform for more than 600 artists from across the continent and continues to draw a huge array of creative individuals and art connoisseurs from across the globe.

The FNB Jo’burg Art Fair continues to play an important role in harnessing the value that artists bring to society and has thus established itself as the meeting place for those interested in African contemporary art.


Source — Panorama Magazine.

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Tourism downturn affects creative industry


Image result for zimbabwe arts


THE decline in business experienced in the country’s tourism sector has negatively impacted on the creative industries as consumption patterns of cultural products continue to fall, Amagugu International Heritage Centre technical consultant, Charlton Tsodzo, has said.

Tsodzo told NewsDay on the sidelines of a seminar held at the United States Embassy in Harare on Wednesday that the downturn of the tourism industry had caused unrest in the creative sector, which encompasses sculpture, craft-work, film and literature.

“Tourists have always been the traditional consumers of cultural products in the country, but the numbers in consumption have deteriorated over the years with the general public taking over in terms of intake,” he said.

“In a bid to spur the consumption of cultural products, the government should introduce a standing policy that should make the consumption of cultural products mandatory.”

Tsodzo said although the objects that were being produced are big, tourists now prefer handicrafts which they could fit into their bags and are cheaper to get through the country’s exit points.

He said there was need for greater appreciation of the arts industry and how factors such as funding, market access and pricing models played a pivotal role in the performance of the creative industry.

“Understanding the pricing model is a skill, taking into consideration that the market has changed radically and there has been a downturn in the tourism sector, hence local producers need to understand that their prices should suit what indigenous people can afford,” he said.

Tsodzo emphasised that at the moment, there was little hope that the creative industry could contribute to the country’s gross domestic profit, citing Zimbabwe’s international isolation.

Source: NewsDay

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Dominic Benhura’s Mugabe statue finds no love

Dominic Benhura stands next to his 'masterpiece' besides a polka faced President Robert Mugabe

By Robert Mukondiwa

The jury has been out on the stone sculpture carved by renowned stone art mason Dominic Benhura and quite frankly, they haven’t demanded too much time to deliberate.

President Robert Mugabe and First Lady Grace Mugabe pose with statue by Dominic Benhura outside State House Harare, Zimbabwe.

The 7,8 metre statue purportedly depicting Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe seems to have been given a unanimous verdict by the onlookers.

Simply put, if ever art were subjected to the dictates of criminal justice, Benhura would be before a tribunal in The Hague facing a 7.8 metre 3 tonne of crime against art, with slimmer prospects of being let off the hook than perhaps even Adolf Hitler.

A picture of the monstrosity had the Zimbabwean head of state standing next to it visibly, for want of a better word, ‘stone faced, with an inanimate look where nobody could read what the president was thinking of the latest addition to his art collection.

A safe assumption should be that the ‘artwork’ has by now been given its deserved space in a dark dingy corner somewhere in State House alongside the dusty worn Wrex Tarr Chilapalapa songs vinyl records and woolen Rhodesian suits Ian Smith failed to collect on his way out after he handed over the keys in 1980.

It deserves to be there.

And probably the president, as far as art goes, will stick to his favourite two taxidermy lions which guard the State House doors.

The fact that Benhura even had to speak out in ‘defence’ of his eyesore in the media is more than telling in itself.

Art-good art, like that famed ‘mombe’, Samson the CSC cattle of the nineteen-eighties, is supposed to speak for itself. That this hideous lump needs to have subtitles and a disclaimer is evidence that something went terribly wrong.

The social media sphere went mad. An outpouring of mostly shock could be read across the entire world, with a few sprinklings of support for Benhura, many of which were probably just kind hearted art lovers who felt they had to be nice to Benhura for all those months of carving a nightmare.

But where did the nightmare start?

In all honesty, Dominic is and always has been a master of the abstract. He has created some of the best gems the world has seen; yes world!

Image result for swing me mama sculpture
President Nelson Mandela accepting “Swing Me Mama” by Dominic Benhura outside the President’s office in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Dominic Benhura’s fingers have the uncanny and almost effortless ability to write poetry through stone. Pieces like Swing Me Mama, Our H.I.V Friend, or the Dance Of The Rainbirds- these are gems that have spoken subtly to the world as Benhura has breathed life into dead black stone and animated it into sheer living beauty.

Benhura was out of his comfort zone and thus, as an abstract artiste, attempting this commission, assuming he was indeed commissioned, was always a catastrophe waiting to happen. He never should have attempted it.

The fact that you can even decipher the president’s face means he strayed from his subtle artwork

Typical Benhura piece on a good day….

, in spite of his insistence that he didn’t.

It wasn’t his forte. The bush-men were amazing artistes but they would never have been best suited to paint the iconic frescos on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Michelangelo’s stead. Pablo Picasso could never be expected to have done a Rembrandt in spite of the both of them being experts in their artistic genres. To expect Picasso to ditch Les Demoiselles d’Avignon and produce The Night Watch iconographic painting would be stretching it. It wasn’t up his avenue.

And certainly, while he has an ‘orchestra’ of his own, Alick Macheso could never do a cover of ‘O sole mio, Nessun Dorma or Habanera which demand a-let’s just say-rather different orchestra.

Dominic Benhura will have to live with the flak of having committed this unforgivable crime in the name of art for one reason; he accepted the task and therein lies his faux pas of solid-no pun intended- judgement.

If Dominic Benhura were, say, a gynaecologist and the President approached him wanting a heart-bypass would he perform it simply on the back of the fact that he is a doctor? I hardly think so. It is the same question he should have asked himself before he took on this task.

Now he has done something that South African satirist and cartoonist Zapiro would be envious of as it much likely passes for a sad caricature of an otherwise towering historical figure.

The best thing would have been to create a structure that speaks through symbolism as opposed to this-a clearly schizophrenic attempt to be an abstract artiste and one who defines the form all in one. Not a good idea.

And without fail the world media will latch onto this and run endless copy until their fingers are red and swollen. Benhura just needs to have some very thick skin. The next few weeks are going to be rather-wait for it-rocky for him!

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Looking for an investment? African art is hotter than gold


(CNN)Amid strong demand and skyrocketing prices, contemporary African art is increasingly attracting the attention of investors worldwide.

While that might irk the purest at heart among some art collectors, it is a testament to the growing interest that African artists have spurred on the international markets.
British auction house Bonhams has seen average lot prices increase 5-fold — to about $50,000 — since it started specializing in contemporary African art in 2007.
ArtHouse Contemporary Limited, an auction house based in Lagos, Nigeria, notes that pieces bought at their very first auction, back in 2008, have increased up to 10-fold in value today.
The trend falls within a general rise in value for African art as a whole — Sotheby’s, whose auctions currently combine African and Oceanic art, took in an “outstanding” $84 million in 2014, compared to just $4 million a decade ago. They are now considering specialized sales for African art alone.

From nothing to millions

You’d be hard pressed to find a man who has witnessed the rise in recognition and value of African art better than Prince Yemisi Shyllon, who is reported to be Nigeria’s largest private art collector.
“When I started collecting art as an undergraduate at university in the mid 1970s, it had virtually no value,” he told CNN.
“You could buy a piece of good art for 20,000 Naira [about $100 at current conversion rates]. Today it would sell for millions.”
He now has about 7,000 pieces, which he displays in his house in Lagos.
“I’ve studied the movement of the prices of artwork sold in auctions in Nigeria since 1999,” he said. “And I can tell you how much the artworks have grown over time, of different artists — if we draw a correlation analysis we come up with a positive graph about the growth, and therefore it can form a solid basis for investment.”

Africans buy African art
At least half of the contemporary African art sales registered at auctions worldwide are believed to come from buyers within the continent, chiefly Nigeria and South Africa.
“Nigeria has the largest population, it’s the largest economy and oil producer today,” Kavita Chellaram, chief executive at ArtHouse Contemporary Limited, told CNN.
Why more and more people invest in African art

Why more and more people invest in African art

“Half the billionaires of Africa live between Nigeria and South Africa, so I think the prominence of the art here is quite relevant to the financial market.”
Experts also cite the strong growth of African economies and the rising wealth of the middle class as leading factors in the surge of interest around contemporary African art
Giles Peppiatt, director of contemporary African Art auctions at Bonhams, says his numbers confirm the investment appeal of African art, even though the average prices are still reasonable: “I think that in the African sales, the majority of the works sell between $10,000 and $60,000.
“It’s still relatively modest, and that’s healthy, because it means it’s a market where new entrants can come in. I think it’s a 10th of the entry price of some other markets, but that’s to be expected because it’s a very new one.”

Global interest
The rise in fame of contemporary African artists on the international stage is also starting to fuel solo exhibitions abroad, such as the one offered by the Brooklyn Museum in 2013 on Ghanaian sculptor El Anatsui, whose “New World Map” went for a record £541,250 at auction in 2012.
Yet, it’s not easy to decode why the trend has exploded only just recently.
According to Peppiatt, there are two reasons: “Until about 15 years ago there was no email, there was virtually no internet and you can’t do these sales without modern communication.
“I also think it has to do with the general globalization of the art world. People are now much more used to seeing other cultures’ art at auction.”

A bright future
At the moment, large international players such as Bonhams still hold their events in Europe or the U.S. “I think it’ll be a while before we start auctioning works in situ in Africa,” said Peppiatt.
“We have offices in Lagos and Johannesburg, I think it will remain that way for a bit. There’s also the advantage that there’s a whole structure of art dealing and art selling is here in London — the restorers, the conservators, the transport, the shippers, the packers. Everything is here and it’s very easy for people to buy and sell in London.”
Yet. ArtHouse Contemporary, who hold their auctions in Lagos, are noticing encouraging local trends: “There’s much more awareness,” said Chellaram. “People all over Nigeria and Africa today are looking towards art, and in fact Kenya has opened an auction house, Uganda’s having an auction this year, so there is a bit of a domino effect in Africa,” she continued. “Auctions can provide a platform to showcase African art to the world.”
And according to Prince Yemisi Shyllon, who’s planning to open a private art museum in Lagos, the fundamental role of art should not be overshadowed by the investment appeal: “I don’t believe collections should just be about collecting and enjoying art. I think it should go beyond just collecting — it should go into the element of propagating the culture or the heritage of the people and way of life of the people.
“Not only that, it should finally go to the extent of creating a legacy.”
More from Marketplace Africa


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Artists urged to embrace internet


AVAC Arts Director Terrence Musiyiwa says local artists should embrace the use of the internet to develop their business.


Avac Arts is a Zimbabwe-based African visual and contemporary arts organisation that promotes African art and assists artists in sales. He also helps artists to be part of art promotional activities such as local, regional and international exhibitions. This is done through the use of information and communication technologies.

“The internet is a very powerful tool. In international trade, it is a bridge that connects artists and their products to a global village. It offers infinite possibilities,” said Musiyiwa.

“Human evolution has been occurring since the earth was formed. Once there was the Stone Age followed by the Iron Age. Now we are in the information era. Artists need to start capitalising on technological advancements and enjoy the benefit of e-commerce and e-tailing. They can engage us for assistance and we will help them to the best of our abilities.”
Musiyiwa said they had sold artworks from more than 50 artists since launching the website last year.

“We are expecting to send out our first artist year to Canada by year end and also expecting to receive international art collectors from the United States, U.K and Germany,” he said.

“We are hoping to open our first arts centre soon in Harare should our application for land be successful. Once we have our own centre we will have a physical domain and this will definitely go a long way in helping us grow as a social enterprise and enable us to accommodate more artists.”

He said the use of the internet was helping artists to get exposure, sales and market their artworks internationally.

“We want to be the hub of Zimbabwean art and we are looking for bloggers, artists and IT volunteers who are willing to work with us towards achieving this vision. We have also begun recruiting interns for programmes such as fine arts, IT, computer science, journalism, video production, graphic designing and media studies amongst other programs,” he said.

AVAC Arts is developing a network of international affiliates in order to help distribute art works around the world.

Musiyiwa said although funding was a challenge, they were hoping to get finance for their activities from sales of products and grants from well-wishers.

However, Musiyiwa said relying on the internet alone made their job difficult due to the inherent risks associated with international trade and trade restrictions imposed on Zimbabwe. Up to now Zimbabweans are not able to use paypal.

He said his organisation had sent artworks to Canada, South Africa, Germany and the US, which benefitted over 50 artists. AVAC Arts is presently working with over 200 upcoming and established artists in Zimbabwe.

“Our weakness as a country and continent is our inability to fully utilize information and communication technologies. As AVAC Arts, we are in the process of continuously improving our operations and website so that it becomes more user-friendly and flawless,” he said.

Musiyiwa said since their efforts were primarily centred on art communities, they had hosted artists from arts hubs such as Chitungwiza, Hatfield and Warren Park.


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Artwork of the Week: Telling Secrets By Ndandarika Joseph

telling secrets

This sculpture speaks on true friendship by means of the sub rosa element which its name implies. Although somewhat malevolent, the sculpture is expressive of confidentiality, reliability and trust. The convention of trust is a human necessity that is synonymous with association, affiliation and amicability; virtues that are well definitive of friendship. All things being equal; a friend is someone in whom one can place their trust.

International Friendship Day was established to promote friendship and fellowship among all humanity; regardless of their race, colour or religion and to be recognise its relevance and importance of friendship as a noble and valuable sentiment in the lives of human beings around the world. It is observed on July 30 each year.

The International Day of Friendship is also based on an important opportunity to confront the misunderstandings and distrust that underlie so many of the tensions and conflicts in today’s world. It is a reminder that human solidarity is essential to promoting lasting peace and fostering development.

On this International Day of Friendship; cultivate new warm ties that strengthen humanity and promote the companionship of all.


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I will not drink again – the Rodney Badza interview


I happened to pass through First Floor Gallery Harare for the opening of Rodney Badza’s eclectic exhibition “The Creator’s Palette”. The exhibition which is a selection of his work in various media ranging from drawings, photographs, prints, illustrations, paintings, ceramics and sculptures sets Rodney in a unique class of contemporary Zimbabwean visual artists who are not afraid to stretch their creative abilities to create awe inspiring work.

Walking around the exhibition my attention sifted through the various artworks including beautiful portraits of women – some of which include family, friends and the artist’s ex-lovers and focused on a particular painting titled “I will not drink again”. The piece seemed somewhat a self-portrait of the artist half naked in side view against a psychedelic type background, hands held behind his head, facing upwards, eyes closed as if in deep thought. Curiosity got the better of me and I just had to find out a bit more about the piece, below are excerpts of the short interview with Rodney (RB).

What’s the story behind I will not drink again

(RB) It’s a reflection of the time I drank alcohol for the first time – which also became my last. It was at college during my 21st birthday and I just wanted to have fun, that didn’t happen though msoro waiita ku spinner baba (my head started spinning). I drank a lot of alcohol, had a lot of fun the first few minutes, and then all hell broke loose. I was in a world of pain. The rest I don’t remember, but a lot of other people do

What where the thoughts going through your mind

(RB) Haaa everything baba, from regret, enjoyment, painful memories, hallucinations etc I was in several worlds at the same time. It was crazy

What are your thoughts about alcohol and what advice would you give young people regarding alcohol

(RB) Well people drink for different reasons, but to me alcohol does not give exactly what it promises, so it’s a bad thing. I would advise young people to stay away from alcohol and drugs of any kind. It ruins you, I’ve been much happier without alcohol in my life. Soberness gives me more time to do more productive things.

There’s a notion that most artists get their inspiration from alcohol and drugs what’s your comment on that and where do you derive your inspiration from

(RB) That’s not true; I know a lot of sober artists who get inspiration from sober activities. I personally am an example.

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The creators palette exhibition set to open at the First Floor Gallery Harare

the creators palette

First Floor Gallery Harare will from June 1 open a unique exhibition by Rodney T Badza titled “The Creator’s Palette” at 31 Lyric Heights in Harare. This will be a show of Rodney’s work for the past four years.
The Exhibition will showcase a series of works, including drawings, photographs, prints, illustrations, paintings, ceramics and sculptures.The exhibiting artist Rodney said the theme “Creator’s Palette” tags him as the creator of his artworks and the brainchild behind each composition.

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What is a Dream Catcher?

dream catcher

Dream catchers are arts and crafts of the Native American people. The original web dream catcher of the Ojibwa was intended to teach natural wisdom. Nature is a profound teacher. Dream catchers of twigs, sinew, and feathers have been woven since ancient times by Ojibwa people.

They were woven by the grandfathers and grandmothers for newborn children and hung above the cradleboard to give the infants peaceful, beautiful dreams. The night air is filled with dreams. Good dreams are clear and know the way to the dreamer, descending through the feathers.

The slightest movement of the feathers indicated the passage of yet another beautiful dream. Bad dreams, however, are confused and confusing. They cannot find their way through the web and are trapped there until the sun rises and evaporates them like the morning dew.

Originally the Native American dream catcher was woven on twigs of the red willow using thread from the stalk of the stinging nettle. The red willow and twigs from other trees of the willow family, as well as red twig dogwood can be found in many parts of the United States.

These twigs are gathered fresh and dried in a circle or pulled into a spiral shape depending upon their intended use. They used natural feathers and semi-precious gemstone, one gemstone to each web because there is only one creator in the web of life.

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Ife Masks By Traditional Artist of the Nigerian people

ife masks of nigeria

National Gallery of Zimbabwe Artwork of the Week: Ife Masks By Traditional Artist of the Nigerian people

Ife masks imitated the human face as accurately and sensitively to bring out the feeling for harmony, balance and proportion. They are ceremonial masks with a great cultural and traditional significance in Africa and are considered amongst the finest creations in the art world. Thus, the masks are important instruments that aid in the consolidation of the Africa.

Ife masks are religious symbols with an important role in the life of Africans. They are insights into African life. The Objects are significant for three things the functions of African material objects, their importance and power of Africa.


Source: National Gallery of Zimbabwe

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Gallery embarks on artist portfolio review

nagz pic

This June, the National Gallery of Zimbabwe will facilitate a portfolio review exercise for 20 practicing visual artists. The review is meant to augment best practise by expanding the selection of artists for the organization’s exhibitions in future. Aside from this factor the exercise is meant to bring in fresh perspectives.

Artists are recommended to participate in this portfolio review exercise for a number of factors; the input of arts industry professionals such as curators, art writers and gallerists who have a grasp on contemporary taste is by far the most crucial element of the review exercise as it gives critical feedback to the artist in order to make their body of work bolstered and increased in appeal. Arguably, the entire concept of artistic integrity stands to be impugned greatly by the notion of creating art that responds to particular tastes and this is an issue to which most artists will find themselves at loggerheads with many an art institution.

It would be, however, inequitable, in the very least to suggest that within the display of the artist’s work, a means on the side of the gallery to increase the allurement of the body of work to translate to marketability must be established. Therein in lies the purpose of the portfolio review, as it seeks to identify the wide array of artists who are as diverse in style, technique, subject matter and genre. Upon review, there would be an inclusive record of this diverse pool of artists that can create opportunities for them with regards to their chosen, or rather specialty in practice.

It is of course, a crucial for the artist to understand that the process has to be as smooth flowing as possible. A portfolio review exercise does not need the actual, physical artwork and requires either a flash disc or compact disc with a minimum of five and a maximum 10 artworks, in JPEG format, produced within the last year. Alternatively, artists may provide a physical portfolio of photographs of their work, in colour, with details of the dimensions provided therewith.

Who reviews it?
The review process, as mentioned earlier on, is comprised of individuals who have depth and understanding in visual art. The components of the reviewing team often vary in opinion as the reviewers have different perspectives on the positive and negative inclinations of each portfolio. It is noteworthy that the object of taste is critical from a Curatorial standard, whereas the value in subject can have a different magnetism to a gallerist. With the numerous perspectives available to the artist, the review exercise can serve as an interactive means between the artist and the industry to manifest best practice and standards in the sector. With regards to how the artists’ practice develops from critical review exercises, what can serve to empower the artist is the appraisal element of the exercise. It is of note that in responding to exhibitions with open calls, artists tend to focus on the quantitative domain whereby they submit as much work as they can, to some extent lacking the appeal factor for buyers.
As observed through exhibitions such as the flagship Zimbabwe Annual Exhibition, from over four-hundred submissions of work, the adjudicators thoroughly review the most engaging, appealing and qualitative artwork to present a little under a hundred works. The jury may of course, via their diverse tastes, not come to agreement on many the selection of some artworks, they do however come to terms with the highest identifier of great work; quality. The portfolio review exercise thus provides an inclusive and interactive means for the artist to meet professionals whom can provide them with direct input concerning the quality of their work. Registration for the portfolio review exercise must be completed before June 6 and the review is set to take place on June 13. Artists who have never exhibited at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe are invited to submit their portfolios.





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Now you can find Sculptures for as low as $4.50!!

small elephant

As the business continues to expand to incorporate more artists and more artworks, we have finally introduced curio sculptures prices ranging as low as $4.50.

Curios are reproducible small common artworks which have very high demand and sale faster than bigger more expensive sculptures. Curios are mostly made of soft stone. This is also in response to some of our wholesale customers who want to incorporate smaller and more affordable artworks to their collection. Sales in art are not like bread sales. Curios are a must have because they help boost sales and even out the cash flow receipts.
If you are already into stone sculpture trade or considering venturing into it then apply and take advantage of our Wholesale Facility and enjoy massive trade discounts. Follow link for more information:

To make the site more interesting we have mixed the curio artworks into older product posts for a diverse experience when going through our site. We hope you will enjoy the works and find something that you like.

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Efficient Paypal alternative(s) required for Zimbabwe and Africa to benefit from ecommerce transactions


As the Zimbabwean economy continues on a downward spiral, conducting business in the country has not been getting any easier. There is high unemployment in the country, the cost of conducting business is high and there is low liquidity within the financial sector.  The Central bank’s capacity to influence money supply is very limited since it cannot print money any more. Zimbabwe now primarily uses the imported United States dollar for local trade.

The recent announcement by Barclays to withdraw from Zimbabwe had a devastating effect on almost all local financial institutions. Almost everyone is withdrawing their monies from banks. For those unable to withdraw, the trick is to open a new account with a more stable bank, transfer funds and withdraw as soon as possible. The very few employed and banking individuals are now panicking and preferring to keep their monies underneath the pillow as it is deemed safer there.

The situation is so bad to a point where some banks are now refusing to open new accounts and preferring to retain their present clientele base. Which other banks do this in the world? There are now serious money shortage indicators within the formal financial sector. Most banks have already started limiting the maximum withdraw per day. All transactions above US10,000 now require RBZ approval. Most ATMs during the weekends have no money and this is no random coincidence but a deliberate move by banks to try and minimise withdrawals.

From my little experience as a banker and little knowledge as an economics graduate,  more “controls” will neither improve the money supply in the economy nor help save or steer our ailing economy in the right direction. Increases in the rates of import duty and imposition of licenses as a deterent to importation result in higher costs of living to the end users. I will not bother to waste neither my time or the readers’ to talk about equitable income and wealth redistribution as a solution.

The only sustainable solution to improving Money supply in our local economy is for the country to adapt a robust import-substitution and exported-oriented growth approach.

In this 21st century also known as the Information Era that we live in, the internet has facilitated the establishment of athriving electronic economy. I strongly believe that Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) such as ecommerce have a major role to play in bringing in the much needed foreign currency into Zimbabweand Africa at large. More and more people need to start exporting and exploring e-commerce platforms for international trade. The money is out there, somewhere. It is definitely not in the country.

To fully reach out and maximise revenue inflows, there is need for new trade facilitators who can hanness the power of the internet to create alternatives to Paypal. As a resident Zimbabwe citizen, I cannot fully use Paypal. Paypal says Zimbabwe is sanctioned and you cannot integrate it to any of our local banks. We need home grown ICT solutions as Africa. The country needs an online merchant account that understated Africa at large and the opportunities within it.

Whoever is going to be able to provide an e-commerce (online merchant) platform which makes it easy for international, regional and local users to send and receive money online using a mobile number, a bank account and/or email address is going to create potentially the biggest international trade facilitation financial institution in Zimbabwe and potentially Africa at large. I commend the founders of as a user. However, the platform cannot be used as an ecommerce merchant account.

As AVAC Arts I would like to believe that we are amongst the early adapters to use comprehensive e-commerce business platforms for conducting international trade. As the founding member of AVAC Arts I have a passion for art, economic development, information and communication technology and community development . We are hoping to be a practical case study on how communities and the economy can benefit from adaptation and utilisation of new technologies. As users of new technologies in trade facilitation, we also hope to advocate for positive change in business practices and policies towards economic growth and development.

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My first month in stone sculpting (An overview of stone sculpturing in Zimbabwe)


If someone is to ask me what I think of stone sculptures from Zimbabwe, I would say “Educative, inspiring, amazing and creative”, all wrapped up in one place.  I would like to think it all started in the stone-age era and unknown to the founders of stone carving, the art form has grown and continued into the 21st century.

Stone sculpting is one of the most amazing art forms globally. Tourists from all over the world travel every year thousands of kilometers to buy and to see this art form produced by our very own local Zimbabwean artists using nothing but simple tools and a creative mind. For the artist, art is a form of expression and as a source of livelihood for many families. For the end users, art adds depth and an antique afro-centric feel to open indoor and outdoor spaces. Art adds enormous value to real estate and private properties. You will never find two identical Shona stone sculptures in this world. This is because all sculptures are hand-carved and no two raw stones used in sculpting are ever identical.

I have also noticed that a lot of sculptors have managed to travel to many different countries and tutored people of different races, ethnicity and age. Most artists create sculptures based on inspiration and background.

I am proud of our local artists because they represent Zimbabwe on the global level. Our sculptures are highly regarded internationally. Not only are the artists helping themselves and sustaining their families; they are also helping the national fiscus with the much needed foreign currency. Zimbabwe is importing more that it is exporting and the country is currently facing with a major liquidity crisis and faced with a devastating drought due to poor rainfalls.