Valentine's Day, also known as Saint Valentine's Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine, is an annual day celebrated by millions of people from across the globe on the 14th of February. According to some reports, it originated as a Christianliturgical feast day honoring one or more early saints named Valentinus.
One important thing to note about Valentine's Dayis that it shows how people all over the world are passionate about their loved ones as they celebrate the day and exchange giftsand recognise it as a significant cultural and commercial celebration, although it is not viewed as a public holiday in any country. Being at the Gallery today we are surrounded by many artists who are passionate about the arts the same way people are passionate about the Valentine's Daycelebration. Passion is the one important quality that one has to have that textbooks, instruction manuals and company procedures will never talk about but one has to figure it out on his or her own.“Nothing great in the world has been accomplished without passion," said Georg Hegel, a German philosopher.Be it the simplest thing or the most sophisticated thing, you need passion in order to succeed.
This week I spoke to four art practitionerspassionate about the arts. They take us through what it means to have a passion for something and what it is that drives them every single day to turn that passion into something productive economically and socially.
"My passion for the arts started when I was still at school. Out of all the subjects I had studied I felt like art brought personal satisfaction, beauty, exploration and expression. To me everything has got an artistic side to it and that is what I always look for. I believe that art can transform people, as it encourages them not to focus on irrelevant or trivial matters; but to focus on the often unseen issues, reasons and patterns in all phenomena," said Mrs. Doreen Sibanda the Executive Director at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe.
Another well-knownartist in the performance arts sector Tariro Negitare highlighted how passionate she is about what she does as an artist.
"I am a passionate creative and I think that is evident in everything that I do as a musician, entrepreneur and philanthropist. God gave me the gift and the vision for what the gift is to be used for. Holding on to the vision allows me to go through each day regardless of any hindrances or challenges. The consciousness of the fact that my gift has purpose drives me to follow my passion. Passion leads you to the things that God wants you to do for his purpose. Tying your gifts and talents with your personal purpose not only leads to a more successful career, but a significant one," said Tariro
Artists are driven by many interesting elements,including passion, others feel art is very important in society because it is an essential ingredient to empowering the hearts of people while others feel that art is a remarkable mode of depicting culture from all over the world.
"I feel moved by the inexplicable deep connection I feel with The Universe, and the people who interact with my work.It's natural, I find the creative space to be a glimpse into what actual freedom & non-judgment may feel like. No one can tell me my work is right or wrong, good or bad, it simply exists, and will cross paths with other things that exist, for some reason and will be that," said AMABEYOND a singer and Fine Artist of visual and sonic Art.
Tariro said"The impact that the gifting has on people is the most humbling and probably what I enjoy the most. It is always a reminder that another force is at play and therefore cannot take any credit for that ‘magic’. It does not matter where I perform or who I perform for. Whatever backgrounds my audience comes from; the reaction is always the same.
"My wiliness to learn and to meet artists in their studios and respecting those that came before me in the arts, for I continue to learn more from them. My mentors Lorna Ferguson, Bongi Dhlomo and former Centre Pas Quart Director Andreas Meir taught me to be humble and with that my passion is also drives me to be with those that make art for without them there will be no exhibition or museums and galleries in the world,” said Mr. Raphael Chikukwa the Chief Curator at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe.
Just like any other profession, there are challenges in the arts sector which vary from type of art to another. However, if passion ignites your work, it will accelerate you past road blocks that may come about. Any obstacle that comes your way is accepted and fought off with a creative solution.
"Lack of adequate structure in our industry has been a big hindrance to progress. There is no consistency in the value chain, and as much as there are many opportunities in the arts industry, the lack of adequate support structures is retrogressive. However, this has not hindered the growth of the brand. One has to make the best of the circumstances and thrive. I have also started doing a lot of work in arts and culture development as a way of trying to create a future in the industry that is more sustainable," said Tariro.
According to AMABEYOND, "The greatest challenge has been being perceived as wayward because I chose an "unconventional" path. It is acutely strange when you are celebrating your life, while and others are mourning it, or worse, fearing it. I have experienced so much joy and power out of being one in a vision of wellness, greatness, and happiness over my future, believing in myself when others were not equipped to do so.She added: "I value living within a perceived choice. Part of my responsibility as a "born-free" Zimbabwean Artist, is to exercise and express, and enjoy that freedom."
There is nothing worse than having to wake up every morning during the week to mindlessly go do work you don’t even care about. However, this is never really an issue when you are passionate about the work you do. If you are not forced to work somewhere because of monetary constraint, you truly enjoy what you do and you never really work a day in your life.
"My advice to upcoming curators is, practice makes perfect, allow yourselves to learn to walk before you run. Furthermore as a young and upcoming curator, respect, honesty and humbleness are key to whatever you do in your quest to be a curator. One needs to be a good networker, and not burn bridges because you will need that same bridge one day. The willingness to share will help to grow your curatorial career. There is no teamwork without team spirit and there is no team spirit without teamwork, and this is centralto the curatorship/exhibition making process," said Chikukwa.
"The counsel that I would give to young and upcoming artists passionate about the arts is to be sincere in their work, to strive to be uniqueand authentic in what they have to offer, to follow their passion relentlessly, to surround themselves with cheerleaders, listen to good advice and listen to constructive criticism and to strive in whatever conditions they may find themselves in. Being a mature citizen, my desire is to make sure that the new generation carries the torch forward with the same dedication and passion for the arts. I feel a consciousnessto bring more people to the understanding of whatart is and what it can do for their lives,"said Sibanda.