By Lindsay Chiswe

The National Gallery of Zimbabwe held its first exhibition of the year on the 22nd February 2018 at its premises running under the theme- Lost and Found, “Resilience, Uncertainty, Expectations, Excitement and Hope”.

The exhibition sought to reaffirm the position of the artists as the primary storyteller, using different media and it also provided a platform for Zimbabwean artists to reflect while they interrogate the socio-economic fabric in the country.

Raphel Chikukwa Curator and the Acting Director at the Gallery said that the exhibition was important as it is a reflection of the events that took place on 18th November 2017, which is one of the most important events on the Zimbabwean calendar and an event not to be forgotten.

“As National Gallery of Zimbabwe, it is our role to provide a platform for the artists to express themselves. So this is part and parcel of this exhibition for that artistic expression that many years ago a lot of artists had self-censorship in their artwork, but this is a new beginning a new start, new era”, he said.

Zimbabweans in the last decade had lost hope in regards of a brighter future. Their uncertainty and excitement manifested on the 18th of November 2017 ,this marked a turning point and became a perfect time to reflect on the meaning of being a Zimbabwean.

Speaking at the opening, Elvas Mari, Director of the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe, who was the guest of honour, said that, the exhibition was fulfilling the 2005 Convention.

“The 2005 Convention of UNESCO is all about giving space to create expression and the happenings of 18 November 2017 were landmark in that respect as well.

“In the Arts Sector, the historical event gave space for artists to express themselves. The freedom to express is very critical and when we have freedom to express, it means that people are also able to start developing as a nation” he said.

Mari also said he was honoured to be officiating at the gallery exhibition in 2018 after the operation restore legacy.

“I am honoured because in so many case, events like this usually will be safeguarded, recorded and done elsewhere probably we will be having an exhibition in Cape Town done by others trying to express themselves and the artist probably people interpreting from afar”.

“When I toured the exhibition looking at the photographs and artists, I was impressed that they are Zimbabweans who saw the events and they captured them” he said

Lost and found: Resilience, Uncertainty, Expectations, Excitement and Hope means to memorialise the events that changed the face of power and the political landscape.

The experience that forged Zimbabwe’s new political and social order presented artists an opportunity to revisit and reflect upon the journey that many Zimbabweans have walked. The past 37 years showed the resilience of Zimbabweans and the new era brings excitement and hope.

Artists displayed images that confronted the traumas that had beset Zimbabwe over the years, artworks which questioned ingrained history and engender new narratives based on memories and expectations of restore legacy worth cherishing. The exhibition was attended by the general public, artists, government and the diplomatic corps. Mr Chikukwa said as NGZ they hope to publish a book by many photographers of Zimbabwe, especially the ones that participated in this exhibition.

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