Storytelling and Art Lessons to Commence at Gallery

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satartclasThe National Gallery of Zimbabwe is introducing new art classes for the year 2017. The art classes set to commence on the 17th of January are for adults

interested in creative expression, while also meeting new people from different walks of life and socializing. Arts learning experiences are not only beneficial to children but benefit adults as well.Arts assignments foster the development of communication and reflection skills and formation of new perspectives about oneself and others. Creativity offers a way ofinvoking the role of imagination in developing new perspectives and opening the mind to new things.Moreover, the creation and analysis of paintings, sculpture and other forms of visual arts can be a means of developing visual, critical thinking, and aesthetic judgment.
The lessons will be held every Tuesday from 11 am to 1 pm and students will be offered tea and cake for refreshments. Some of the benefits of attending art classes for adults include building problem-solving skills and giving the students a new way to communicate. Learning to create artworks may also serve as a therapy method and a way to relax. Adults who are interested in enhancing their artistic skills can register now for the classes. Registration forms can be downloaded from the Gallery website www.nationalgalley.co.zw and may alternatively be obtained from the Gallery reception desk.
The National Gallery of Zimbabwe will also be continuing with the Saturday Art Classes.  The Classes are offered throughout the year for preschool, high school students, as well as youthswho would like to sharpen their artistic ability with the intention to explore new dimensions in art. The Saturday Art classes are a way of encouraging young artists to express themselves in a new way and for them to unearth hidden abilities and talents through experimenting with different media of art. When children are encouraged to express themselves and take risks in creating art, they develop a sense of innovation that can be applied in other areas of their lives.
Students are given instruction in basic composition building skills, as well as an opportunity to explore familiar media in unfamiliar ways. Subject matter in all classes includes portraiture, still-life, observation, drawing, painting, mixed media and 3D work and Print making. Students draw inspiration from running exhibitions in the gallery.
After a tiresome week full of solving mathematics equations children will refresh their minds, while learning to think creatively. With an open mind, children will learn to observe and describe, analyse and interpret. They also learn to express feelings, with or without words, practice their problem-solving skills, as well critical-thinking skills and, art-making skills; language and vocabulary of the arts.
The classes also offer an opportunity for high school students to learn how to focus and concentrate and pay attention to detail. Art projects require a certain amount of concentration to complete. Whether the project involves painting, print making or digital media, there are steps to follow. Each step requires students to pay attention to what they are doing. This kind of attention to detail can spread to other subject areas, school projects and future work opportunities. Art classes not only boost attention to detail but also boost creativity and the ability to think and act outside the box.
The terms run during normal Zimbabwean School Terms; January to April, May to August, and September to December. Towards the end of the year a graduation ceremony is held where students are awarded with prizes and certificates for attending the lessons. Registration forms for the Saturday Art Classes can also be downloaded from the gallery website www. nationalgalley.co.zw. Alternatively, the forms can be obtained from the gallery reception desk.
As a way of revisiting the art of Ngano and combining visual art with literature, the National Gallery of Zimbabwe will also be continuing with the story telling sessions with renowned storyteller, and musician Steven Mabasa, as the host of the sessions at the Gallery. Mabasa, who writes mainly in Shona, has won numerous awards, and frequently performs as a story teller and has written several children’s books in English and Shona.
This collaboration is not just about story telling but is also about helping children learn and appreciate their mother tongues as the stories are told in ChiShona and to appreciate visual art in relation to other forms of art like storytelling. Visual art does not stand alone but is interdependent and interconnected to literature, fashion, film and theatre.
The sessions held every Saturday from 10 to 11am, are kick started with the African Folk session where children are usually told two stories. The sessions now include an animated folk tale, which is a sequel to the interactive story telling concept. At the end of a story the children are asked questions about what they have learnt from the story as well as their observations. They also make drawings which offers the children an opportunity to tell the story in their own way.Story telling directs and gives content to the audience to be imaginative and gets the creative juices going. The program which, mainly targets primary school children, is also open to families and the general public of all ages.
Meanwhile as a way of reviving the culture of reading and countering the declining hard copy book sales in Zimbabwe, Ignatius Mabasa is developing a mobile phone application for folktales. The application is meant to promote a reading culture, appreciation of traditional values and an interactive platform between parents and their children.
The National Gallery has a mandate to promote visual arts and the various art classes offered at the Gallery are part of a number of education programmes organized by the National Gallery of Zimbabwe with the aim to educate the public on visual arts, art history and to improve their art skills while exploring various art material, themes and creative expressions.

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