Opened on the 8th of December 2016
The National Gallery School of Visual Art and Design has officially opened the Green Shoots 2016: End of Year Exhibition. Running from December 8 to February 8, the annually held exhibition provides an opportunity for talented students at the Visual Art School to celebrate their achievements and efforts towards creative expression. It also marks a new season where many students spring forth and enter into the professional art world.This year’s group exhibition show includes the exceptional work of 40 first and second year students as well as two artists from the National Gallery Residence Program. It brings to the audience works which interrogate different themes in our society including bondage, poverty, religion and relations. The show is in both traditional and new media works, including sculpture, painting, drawing, installation, printmaking and digital media.
The rainy season in Zimbabwe has just begun, and already, there are signs of growth all around us. It is a season of hope and new beginnings. The NGSVAD has produced a fertile ground for the students; and on this ground many mentors and advisors have directly and indirectly sown good seed. We have now come to a time when, the seeds should germinate and the students should find their rooting.
The show highlights the creative skills that these young artists have acquired in the past 12-24 months. Some of the outstanding pieces on display feature works by Takudzwa Guzha, Shalom Kufakwatenzi, Tawanda Reza and Paidamoyo Sajeni only to mention a few.
Takudwa Guzha whose work deals with current issues has on display a painting titled “Water Shortages in Chitungwiza.” The work depicts people in a situation where water is very scarce such that the people in the painting are depicted as water carrying objects themselves. His artwork mirrors the current water challenges being faced not only in our cities but in most urban cities around the globe which makes it very much relevant in today’s society. Artists are newsletters of our society they mirror what happened in the past, present and what will probably happen in the future.
Tawanda Reza’s vivid depictions of artists sitting round the table represents the different ideas, views and perspectives that different artists in and around Zimbabwe hold. Inspired by the Harare Conversations that take place at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, his artwork demonstrates the diverse ideas that artists hold and inspirations that they can draw from working together.
Paidamoyo Sajeni’s work titled “Black Jesus” interrogates religion. It draws inspiration from the thesis that believes that Jesus was in fact black. There has been no small controversy over the idea that Jesus may have been black as there are various debates from historians and scholars around that idea. The artwork questions issues that have to do with race, religion and identity. These works show the diverse talent that the students at the Visual Art School posses.
Like green shoots, the students have grown in their artistic practise. The NGSVAD has given the students opportunities to explore. They have been part of debates in theory classes, have watched master artists at work during workshops and have spent hours introspecting and researching in order to document social and personal narratives that are important to them. Most of them have just begun to find their own individual style and voice.
“Our students are here to bring something new and to look at things from the perspective of the culture that they have learnt through their parents and community and to use that knowledge to give us something unique as Zimbabweans. This uniqueness is what coming through their works. All the students are creative they are doing new things and developing new ideas and if they continue like this they can become role models to other young aspiring artists, said Mrs Doreen Sibanda the Executive Director at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, during the launch of the exhibition.
“We are very grateful for the instructors who daily pour themselves out, while squeezing and teasing out student potential so that talent can be realised. We would also like to thank the parents who continuously support the children in realizing their dreams as professional artists.
This exhibition reveals that indeed, these young artists are equipped and have the necessary firm foundations from which to launch their careers and work more independently. A huge well done to all those who have been selected to showcase their work for this years’ exhibition.” said Mrs Sibanda.
Part of the National Gallery of Zimbabwe’s aims is to nurture artistic talent and build the local creative industry. Each year, when we install the students’ exhibition, we see that our efforts are not in vain. Not only do we see this in the quality of works produced, we see this in the way students show confidence and readiness to navigate the art world. By year end, usually they have acquired a new boldness and tenacity.
Established 1981, the NGSVAD has equipped hundreds of young people, many of whom have received national and international acclaim. Notable artists to have emerged from the school include Crispen Matekenya, Chiko Chazunguza, Richard Witikani, Hillary Kashiri, George Churu, Semina Mpofu and Justin Gope, Tapfuma Gutsa, Portia Zvavahera and Virginia Chihota. Many others are lecturers, writers and designers who are pioneers in their own right. The National Gallery is confident this current crop of students whose work is highlighted in this exhibition, will excel in diverse and interesting ways.
The school is currently facilitating registration for the 2017 academic year. It offers a Certificate of Competence and a Certificate of Achievement, a National Certificate in Applied Art and Design and a National Diploma in Fine Art.
For the certificates, applicants are required to have at least three O-Level subjects and a portfolio of at least 10 artworks. For the National Certificate applicants are required to have at least five O-Levels including Maths and English. The National Diploma also requires five O-Level subjects and a National Certificate or its equivalent. Registration Forms are available for collection at the National Gallery reception and can also be downloaded from the National Gallery website.