Another breakthrough

I have a vested interest in the arts. I love artists. And God is an artist.

Just take a few moments to stare at a sunset or a sunrise. The rains will soon be upon us. Care therefore, to scan the sky for a rainbow. You will understand that the Creator is a God in love with beauty and all things bright and lovely. The lilies of the valley, the palm trees, the baobabs . . . I could go on.

I love the privilege I have to write about artists and creative people. Another local artist is set to have her works exhibited in a far off country.

To me she represents one of our country’s dynamic young women whose future is really bright given her track record! It’s my job to give you the inside track on the local movers and shakers in our cultural industries.

Architect and fine artist Zandile Masuku selected for Canadian exhibition
Awarded the best female artist award by VAAB in 2012 to 2013 and 2013 to 2014 Zandile Masuku’s star is on the ascendance. Masuku is multi talented, and is the kind of artist who can wax philosophical about subjects that she is passionate about.

When I first chatted with her about her work, I got the distinct feeling that she is a leader and a visionary in her line of work. “I studied architecture at the University of Brighton, UK.

I am a dual professional that is unveiling an untapped passion for art. My concepts as an emerging artist are exploring spirituality, climate change and identity using a universal symbolic visual language that stems from my own culture, Ndebele and my effort to uncover meaning from the fragments I inherited,” she said.

Having her first solo exhibition in 2013 at The National Gallery of Zimbabwe in Bulawayo entitled Dot Connected which challenged global issues such as climate change, spirituality and our interface with the internet, was a milestone.

In 2014 she has participated in group exhibitions at the acclaimed contemporary Gallery Delta, in the Artists in the Stream V young artists’ exhibition in Harare and the ‘Woman at the Top exhibition which showed at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe in Harare as well earlier this year.

Zandile is one of five Zimbabwean artists selected to participate in the residency sponsored by the Eunic cluster cultural programme Basket Case II which will open on October 20th 2014 at the inaugural opening of the National Gallery in Zimbabwe after its renovations.

This programme combines International and local artists with the five main weaving communities in Zimbabwe. The exhibition will showcase the work from these residencies.

Ever since, Masuku, a mother of one, has been up and about hustling to put food on her table and I can tell you that the young woman does not eat the bread of idleness.

Occasional trips to Harare galleries are not an unusual part of her routine!

Today, Masuku has broken through onto the international market having been selected to participate with her catalogue of works entitled Mbira Aesthetics which is in essence a culmination of months of work and will be the artist’s first international feature in September 2014 in Canada.

Siyaya Arts in silver jubilee celebrations
Siyaya Arts is one of Zimbabwe’s senior theatre groups. The thing with theatre folk is that they are generally triple threats ie they dance, they sing and they act!

Five years ago Zambezi Express, a Siyaya Arts production had a runaway success that saw it grace such vaunted platforms stages like West End in London.

Today though, the group reaches another milestone. They reached a whopping 25 years in existence of course mutating variously with members coming and going.

Readers may care to know that some of Bulawayo’s foremost arts practitioners such as Intwasa Arts Festival director Raisedon Baya and William Nyandoro the National Arts Council’s provincial programmes officer have their roots in Nasa together with Mambazo Phiri which later morphed into Siyaya Arts.

This is the reason why sometimes the arts scene in Bulawayo looks like a cabal of comrades.

Everybody knows everyone from way back. I suppose a fair minded person like me will tell you that they have paid the cost to be the boss!

Times were obviously harder then and touring meant carrying mealie meal bags and cooking pots on your head and travelling rural Zimbabwe schools and communities performing.

Though it may seem like small ways, this of course directly connected with the enhancement of our zeal and positively impacted on the future of our touring policies which today see us use tour buses and fly from one destination to the other.

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