In the past, art was associated with “the poor” with most parents discouraging their children from the discipline. Some artists would nurture their talent and develop it without even advancing their education. However, things seem to be taking a different dimension as the world now appreciates more than just natural talent.

Sculptor Shepard Deve who is in China for almost a year said it was important for sculptors and artists to further their education.

“I have advanced the quality of my work. I have made bigger pieces than before but I have learnt that in the industry of stone carving there is need for diplomas and degrees to have better chances of getting employed in these foreign galleries,” he said.

He challenged the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe and other arts institutions to offer degree programmes for the sculptors. Deve said Zimbabwe has got a big market for their stone work as several places are beatified with natural stones.

“The parks are hungry for sculptors here and they just put natural rocks to beautify their spaces. They love African sculptors but sometimes accessibility might be a huge problem,” he said.

Deve said wild animals have a big market in China.

The sculptor appreciates the work God has done in creating animals like birds, fish and ducks among others.

“These small animals are very important as they complement each other to make a beautiful ecosystem,” he said.

For him it was important for artists to give the clear picture of what is happening out there.

 “People should have the real appreciation of the human nature through art. We as artists should give the clear picture through our works,” he said.

He said art was one form of employment that should be embraced by the authorities as well as the cooperate world.

“We have to support all forms of art as they create employment as well as put the country’s name on the map,” Deve added.

His parents inspired him to venture into art.

“My parents taught me how to use the talent I have to earn a living. They always encouraged me to work hard in improving my art,” he said.

Born in 1969, the sculptor went through the education system completing secondary education and later sought formal employment.

In 2008 he then ventured into full time arts working at Chitungwiza Arts Centre.

“During the hyperinflation era, I went into full-time self-employment as an artist. Art was a pastime for me since my school days but I had never taken it seriously.

“I joined the Chitungwiza Arts Centre family to develop my talent and harness it for economic benefits as a means to fend for my family,” he said.

Source: The Herald

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