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. AVAC Arts 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.