The National Gallery of Zimbabwe is proud to announce that we are celebrating our 60th Diamond Jubilee Anniversary. We are excited about this tremendous milestone we have achieved as we look back to the 60 years of promoting art, culture and heritage in Zimbabwe. We have taken Zimbabwean art to the world and we have hosted exceptional exhibitions since 1957 to-date. We are proud of the fact that we house one of the continent’s finest art collections!
This milestone would not have been achieved without the tremendous support we have received and continue to receive from our communities. We would like to express our deepest gratitude to the artists, government, sponsors, partners, volunteers, friends of the gallery and the patrons that have come together for the last 60 years to shape the gallery’s future. It is this support that has enable the National Gallery Zimbabwe together with the public, to remember our cultural history, promote local artists, and spotlight the contemporary relevance of art from Africa.
With our main branch located in the CBD of Harare, the National Gallery of Zimbabwe is a fully established purpose built art gallery that opened in July 1957. It is dedicated to the presentation and conservation of Zimbabwe's contemporary art and visual heritage, and has been in the business of promoting art and culture both locally and abroad.
From the outset, the Gallery was conceived as a national institution, acting as the artistic representative not only for Southern Rhodesia, but also Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland, governed from 1953 to 1963 as a united Federation. Today, the National Gallery of Zimbabwe is still one of the leading art and heritage institutions in Southern Africa.
Additionally, our ever growing art collection includes over 6000 works from all parts of Africa, Europe and Asia.
On any given day in our galleries, you’ll find cutting edge contemporary art from both emerging and veteran artists; art from African modernists and traditional artefacts representing intangible material culture of Zimbabwe. You may also occasionally find collaborative exhibitions that feature artists from overseas as well as local creatives.
The National Gallery of Zimbabwe is a place that has always welcomed synchronism amongst all art disciplines; hence we have offerings that include fashion presentations, literary discourse, film screenings and alternative music.
The National Gallery of Zimbabwe has been central to the meteoric rise of Zimbabwean artists on the world art market. One cannot deny the institution’s role in shaping and promoting the careers of world renowned artists such Tapfuma Gutsa, Dominic Benhura, Chiko Chakonzero, John Takawira, Nicolas Mukomberanwa, Joram Mariga, Portia Zvavahera, Gareth Nyandoro, Virginia Chihota amongst others.
For our 60th Diamond Jubilee Anniversary, the entire year will be one of celebration and introspection and we are offering opportunities for partners, sponsors and associates to become part and parcel of our achievement.
We Will Return To the Venice Biennale
Described as the Olympics of the art world, the Venice Biennale in Italy has for over a century been one of the most prestigious cultural institutions in the world. Established in 1895, the Biennale has an attendance today of over 370,000 visitors at the Art Exhibition. Through the NGZ, Zimbabwe has been participating in the Venice Biennale since 2011. Our first involvement in the Venice Biennale came at a time when the world thought Zimbabwe had been driven to decline. Through this, we announced to the world that Zimbabwe was once again ready for business. Or repeated appearance and tenacity, compiled with the talent we have been able to present, has led to great success for the artists.
Today Zimbabwean artists are being sought after for their serious, thought provoking work and innovative offerings.
The 57th Venice Biennale edition, themed Viva Arte Viva, will open in May 2017 and we are striving to mobilize the funding in order to present a new group representing the robust and enigmatic talents that are finding space in the country of Zimbabwe.
We will host the 2nd International Congress of African Cultures 1962- 2017
The first congress in 1962 was a spectacular event which celebrated African art, music and performance. It attracted academics, scholars, curators and artists from all over the world and inspired similar conferences and festivals in other African countries in the years that came after. In 2017 we will host the 2nd iteration of this historical conference and we trust that it will have even more momentum than the first one. This is especially since we are driven to retake ownership of our artistic narrative and assert our leadership in affairs of this nature. Today Africans have more ownership and authorship of their own narratives than before.
We Will Create Cutting Edge Exhibitions
In 2017, our exhibitions will showcase the best of the best and will include local and international artists. It will see us present eight major exhibitions that include the showcasing of Photography, Design, a tribute sculpture show as well as African contemporary and traditional arts, a Contemporary Zimbabwe Solo Artist and finally an extensive exhibition detailing the unfolding art history of this nation during the course of the International Congress of African Cultures.
We Will Have Several Large Scale Celebratory Events
July is our birthday month! It marks the exact month in which the National Gallery of Zimbabwe was officially opened by the Queen Mother of the United Kingdom. That is why in July 2017 we will have a Diamond Anniversary Gala- ‘Rockn` it since `57’ were we join the Gallery staff and various stakeholders in a party to celebrate this momentous occasion. In addition our Friends of the Gallery will co-host the popular Annual Fundraising Ball ‘Diamond’s and the 50’s’ towards the end of the year. We will have music concerts that target diverse audiences including the youth.
The founding of a new rural livelihood project based in Guruve
The National Gallery of Zimbabwe (NGZ) will be launching a rural livelihood project. This project will be a rural sculpture centre near Guruve, Zimbabwe, the area being one of the most recognised establishments in Zimbabwean Sculpture.
The Gallery is set to bring to life the Centre into an institution that will accommodate not only the existing artists in the area but young and potential artists through the establishment of a new Art Centre within the rural setting. Without attempting to go back in time the new sculpture project will include many existing stone carvers and miners, but will also strive to accommodate millennium and other young talents to embark upon formal training in the arts as well as mentorship in stone carving from established sculptors.
We Will Offer the Public More
We have committed to offer more to our public in 2017. This is why we will introduce free days were the public can access art at no cost on a monthly basis. We will continue to engage underprovided schools both in rural and urban areas. When they cannot come to us, we will take art to them. We will continue to train their teachers and offer support to school art programs. In 2017 we insist on being the main resource centre for art teachers in Zimbabwe as they become acquainted with the new schools art-inclusive curriculum.
We will re-name our gallery spaces after significant local artists to continue their legacy for generations to come and to give tribute to them.
We will stage a local art fair during the ICAC and provide an opportunity for the world to see what Zimbabwe has to offer.
We will offer more art classes both for adults and for children. We will offer more Ngano– Storytelling sessions, more film screenings, more artist talks, more artist-led workshops as well as much more support for local artists.
How You Can Be Involved
We need your support to make our anniversary celebrations, major projects, ground-breaking exhibitions and educational programs possible. The Gallery is offering the following possibilities for you to become involved:
Exhibition sponsorship is one of the most significant arts sponsorships in the world. Exhibitions at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe are accompanied by substantial marketing and publicity campaigns, which will feature the sponsor and run throughout the country and abroad. Sponsors also benefit from exceptional client entertainment opportunities in our unrivalled galleries, and we work closely with sponsors to ensure that marketing and communications opportunities are maximised.
The National Gallery’s Education programme provides access and learning to over 300,000 people every year through schools visits, outreach programmes, lecture series popularly known as Harare Conversations, workshops and tours.