As Zimbabwe’s oldest and most significant arts event on the arts calendar, the Annual Exhibition was first launched as the National Annual Exhibition in 1958, and indirectly led to the creation of the much acclaimed Zimbabwean Sculpture Movement during the 1960s and 70s. The National Annual Exhibition, later relaunched as the Zimbabwean Heritage in 1986 was meant to celebrate the pinnacles of Zimbabwean achievements in the visual arts, taking off were the National Annual Exhibition had left off.

The mandate was to collect contemporary masterpieces of Zimbabwean artwork which reflected the enthusiasm and soul of the people. Thus the Heritage Exhibition sought to collect and conserve for future generations, the best of the artwork in several media which reflected the cultural diversity and magnificence of Zimbabweans.

After the year 2000 changes were introduced that saw it replaced by a curatorial show, then suspended for a while and this is the third edition of the reformed and themed annual open show.

The Annual Exhibition continues to grow and has proven over the years to be a viable platform for Zimbabwe’s artistes to showcase their creativity, diversity, talent and originality with a central theme.

The Annual Exhibition offers an exhilarating opportunity for artists to create new works of art that reflect their best efforts in terms of quality, relevance, authenticity and mastery over medium, with a strong communicated theme.

It emphasises on encouraging artists to produce their best works for the local and international community to see the remarkable talent in Zimbabwean art. Thus it promotes the visibility of Zimbabwean art, encourages and showcases new talent and plays a central role in the rise of Zimbabwean artists in the world art market.

Moreover, it is a well-known fact that art is a potent vehicle of communication that has lived for many decades. The Annual Exhibition facilitates a platform where artistes can communicate and educate the public on their culture, history, present reality, and possibly the future. This year’s exhibition is running under the theme “Nhaka/ Inheritance”. Nhaka/ Inheritance is the practice of passing any property belonging to the deceased person over to the relatives such as titles, debts, rights and obligations upon the death of an individual.

It has long played an important role in human societies. The rules of inheritance differ between societies and have continuously changed over time. The practice of Nhaka/Inheritance in the African culture provokes various debates with the prominent one being that it disadvantages women and children of the deceased.

This is because there are many anecdotal reports that reveal that linkages between the provision of care and inheritance of property have been weakened.

Some relatives only wish to inherit the deceased’s property but neglect the implicit responsibility of taking care of the widow and her children. This situation is sometimes referred to as “property-grabbing”. The focus of this year’s Annual Exhibition will be on how this practice affects family relations, living and working together in today’s modern society.

Last year’s edition of the annual exhibition, entitled “Mharidzo”, saw Lovemore Kambudzi scooping the First Prize Award with his Lunar Park artwork which was about encouraging families to spend quality time together. The exhibition was seeking to interrogate the role of the artist in questioning the religious era that has played a significant part in shaping our society today.

It also gave a platform to artistes to express issues that are close to their hearts through Mharidzo. This year’s edition of the Annual Exhibition is open to Zimbabwean visual artists of all medium. The deadline for application is still open only closing on November 7 2016. The Exhibition, which is going to run from December 8 2016 to February 27 2017, is an open call to all artistes in the country.

It will be held at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, and also includes an awards ceremony, related activities and Harare Conversations throughout its duration. This is an opportunity not to miss as the Annual Exhibition competition provides a platform for Zimbabwean artistes to showcase their current work to a broad audience in the art industry.

Through the Annual Exhibition, the National Gallery of Zimbabwe continues to pursue the excellence in the visual arts of Zimbabwe and to encourage artistic talent inherent in the people of Zimbabwe.

Source: The Herald


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