Rembrandt @350: Zimbabwe remasters a Dutch icon

From Amsterdam to Harare, the world is celebrating Rembrandt van Rijn, 350 years on from his death. We are delighted to be collaborating with the cultural arm of the Embassy of The Netherlands in

Zimbabwe to remaster the icon. Well known for his self-portraits, landscapes, biblical scenes and mythological themes, the exhibition provides a fascinating fusion of Rembrandts style with Zimbabwean contemporary art.
Zimbabwe’s partnership with the Kingdom of The Netherlands is a long standing relationship, encompassing many sectors. Dating back to the 1960’s, Dutch artist and tobacco farmer, Tom Bloomfield established Tengenenge Art Centre in Guruve which is home to some of Zimbabwe’s most prominent sculptors. Amali Malola, Bernard Matemera, Henry Munyaradzi, Josiah Manzi and Sylvester Mubayi are some of the prominent Tengenenge artists who have paved the way in sculpture and we are glad to have mixed media sculptures as part of this exhibition.
Through donations by our patron Sir Stephen Courtauld, the National Gallery is honoured to have six of Rembrandts etchings and dry points in our permanent collection. The works were showcased on our official opening in 1957. Sixty two years later we are excited to be ushering in another generation of contemporary artists giving their interpretation of the master painter and print maker’s works.
This shared heritage is why we are joining the rest of the world in celebrating the Dutch icon and challenges us as Zimbabweans to continue to celebrate our own visual arts. Rembrandt’s work questioned the condition of man then and 350 years later, we question the condition of man now. With global conflicts on the increase, the role of artists is to continue questioning the condition in which we live in and to rethink the future that is in question. The call for Zimbabwean artists to respond to Rembrandt was overwhelming with more than 160 works submitted.
Thanks to the jury team that includes Pauline Burman head of Thami Mneyeli Foundation in Netherlands, Valerie Kabov Director of First Floor Gallery, Peter Kaunda Director of Artillery Gallery,  The Ambassador of The Netherlands and Clifford Zulu, Curator of The National Gallery of Zimbabwe.

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