At the Gallery
The National Gallery of Zimbabwe is set to host the Zimbabwe -In design exhibition for the fourth time in a row.

The exhibition which will officially open on the fourth of May focuses on six types of local design that are fashion, hair, architecture, material culture, graphic design (which includes vexillology) and product design.

In each of these six sections the exhibition will showcase a historical element, a significant moment in that type of design and how it has further developed in today’s contemporary designing.

The Zimbabwe in Design exhibition hopes to create a platform on which designers can showcase their creative abilities in a central curated exhibition. It is an opportunity for the world to see what the nation has to offer in terms of design.

The exhibition also seeks to encourage designers to introspect regarding their cultural identity.

In this global village that we live in, it is easier for designers to be more influenced by foreign trends and cultures as compared to those that are home grown. Craft is a well established industry in Zimbabwe but there is a great need to stimulate the design element for us to move away from the norm and venture in new platforms of design.

It is this exhibition’s aim to impel designers and artists to examine the country’s heritage in order to reflect, remix, revise, reconstruct and reuse elements of Zimbabwean design, content skills and quality with a view to encourage, to cross reference and to develop new synergies between art and design.

For fashion and hair, the show will be looking at three components that is traditional, modern and contemporary fashion and hair styles .

Through images of how people used to dress and a look at some of the people who made impact in the industry, this part of the show seeks to chronicle the development and trends of fashion design and hair in the country.

It is in this regard that the National Gallery of Zimbabwe is looking for 100 Zimbabwean Hair Stories. The contestants should come up with a one minute video clip sharing their hair story and stand a chance to be featured in the upcoming Zimbabwe In Design: 6 Highlights exhibition.

The video should answer these questions; why do you rock your hair the way you do? Did you ever have mabhanzi or mam three growing up? The video clips can be submitted via email to or or drop off the video at NGZ Harare offices. Deadline for submission is 24 April 2017.

“I think it is very important to host such a show to inspire Zimbabwean designers to keep on creating and also to chronicle the development of design in the country. New things happen all the time and if we do not record them they tend to be lost in the cracks.

This show is also an encouragement to young and upcoming designers to be motivated to create and continue improving their skills, said the assistant curator at the National Gallery Ms Fadzai Muchemwa.

Amongst the items which shall be featured in the material culture segment are Hakata (divining sticks), Bakatwa, Badima funeral drums from the Tonga culture and Mutsago (head rest). Material culture consists of valuable objects which depict beliefs, customs, rituals, habits and ideas that shape a socio-cultural environment.

Today, design artifacts have become an inseparable component of human society, a totem of cultural identity and an important source of reference for modern society.

These artifacts are instrumental to aesthetic expression and socio-cultural interaction within a local context. This part of the exhibition seeks to interrogate the relationship between design, culture and belief systems of a people.

Zimbabwe is home to one of the most fascinating historical monuments in Africa such as the Great Zimbabwe Ancient City, Danamombe ruins and the Khami ruins that have stood both the test and taste of time.

In terms of architecture the exhibition seeks to look into design in relation to the environment and sustainability. Every design process is unique, but every design has to consider environmental factors. For example the Eastgate building’s cooling and heating system was designed around the concept of an anthill which is highly sustainable in this environment.

If design concepts in terms of architecture take into consideration the environment they are being designed in, they would be sustainable.

Zimbabwe in Design will also feature product design and graphic design which includes vexillology. According to the flag institute vexillology is the study of flags to describe precisely the parts, patterns, and other attributes of flags and their display.

It is concerned with research into flags of all kinds, both modern and historical, the creation of a body of practice for flag design and usage, and of a body of theory of flag development.

Today, every country and many organizations have a flag which symbolise and mean different things. Vexillology seeks to understand and explain the important part played by flags in the modern world.

“It is a good thing to know where we came from in terms of culture and design to map out where we are going or to look back for inspiration.

We hope that through this exhibition, contemporary designers will continue to draw inspiration from the Zimbabwean based themes, extracting and adapting new forms, and materials and subjecting them to their own imaginative and creative interrogation,” said Miss Tandazani Dhlakama the Curator for Education and Public Programming.

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