They say everyone is born an artist, this can be seen when we learn to shape letters, draw and mold objects out of clay. That art is then lost as one goes into the education system as most institutions didn’t have art classes to cultivate the passion for art at grassroots levels.

That is all going to change with the new curriculum that the Minister of Primary and Secondary education, Lazarus Dokora has been pushing for. In the new curriculum, Dokora has made art a compulsory subject from primary to secondary education. Despite having been met with a lot of resistance, art critics argue that the curriculum will do Zimbabwe’s arts industry good.

National art gallery deputy director and chief curator, Raphael Chikukwa said, “There is very low understanding of what art is, so we need to grow that, so I would like to say thanks to the minister of primary and secondary education who forcefully, with resistance from people to introduce art as a subject from preschool to secondary education.”

Chikukwa said the move by Dokora is a very noble one because when he grew up he was an example of not what to be in life for many parents so this would come to pass when we train people. For the past decades, art has been largely viewed as elitist, a view can somewhat be labeled as a colonial hangover. Before the country’s independence, visual art was elitist as only the white minority had the privilege to appreciate art.

Fast forward to date, accessing galleries ranges from a dollar to free entry. Despite the economic hardships, another key factor missing in the visual arts sector is an appreciation of the craft. Which explains why the Sir Wicknels, the Chiyangwas of this country would rather buy a Mercedes or Rolex watch than buying Artwork.

What the new curriculum which will make art compulsory to students will do is create a new generation of artists and art lovers. Talk about killing two birds with one stone, beef up the visual artists and concurrently create a market for them.

Extract from http://kalabashmedia.com

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